CFP - Women's Football in Latin America: Social challenges and historical perspectives

Jorge Knijnik's picture

Women’s football in Latin America: Social challenges and historical perspectives
A volume in the Routledge book series “Critical Research in Football”
Editor: Jorge Knijnik*

The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup was a record-breaking competition. Television and stream services views had seen a constant rise during the tournament, with more than 2 billion spectators having watched the matches around the world. Fans also packed the French stadiums where they saw high-quality competition on the pitches. Moreover, the tournament also promoted widespread feminist demonstrations, unveiling football as a strong site for the contestation of the patriarchal gender order within football: on the field, the Brazilian global star Marta, six times winner of the FIFA World’s best player award, instigated feminist protests when, instead of celebrating her goals, she demanded equal pay by pointing to the gender equity logo on her boots. Off the field, the USA star Megan Rapinoe strongly called out FIFA and the world of football for the necessary dismantlement of the gendered barriers that still prevent girls and women to achieve equity in football.

Sexism and misogyny are still very sharp reminders that gendered social relations remain significant influencing forces in society as well as in football contexts (Caudwell, 2011). This is what makes Rapinoe’s call particularly relevant for Latin American women’s football. During the last century, the subcontinent was plagued by a history of gendered-sporting laws that prohibited women to participate in football (Votre and Mourao, 2003; Rigo, 2005). According to Knijnik (2015), this discriminatory history still provokes a psychosocial impact over current female players, leading to distressful self-identity issues that inhibit their full professional development as athletes. Furthermore, Knijnik (2014) argues that these bigoted laws are the ‘gendered 20th century legacy’ of football that still hinders Latin American women from freely enjoying the sport as they desire and deserve to participate in.

On the other hand, the past decade has seen a surge of both research and educational projects that aim to ‘level the field’ for girls and women within football. Academics and social activists have been working hard in the sub-continent to increase women’s participation in all levels of football, from grassroots to high-performance, from players, to coaches, fans, managers and referees. These studies and social movements have been happening in every single Latin American country, and represent a renewed rise of football feminism in the continent; they seek to eradicate any form of discrimination against women within one of the most relevant Latin American cultural expressions.

Hence, in order to sustain and further promote the drive of football feminism in Latin America, this book aims to bring to the international readership a variety of high-quality research that has emerged on Latin American’s women football in the past decade. Using feminist lenses, the chapters in this book will look at the social and historical means of the embodied representation of gender differences that has been deeply embedded in the history of Latin American women and football.

Chapter proposals are to be sent to the editor at Abstracts need to contain chapter title, a 250-word summary of the chapter content (theme, focus, empirical or conceptual base, and central argument), author(s) name and affiliation, and 60-word author bio.

    Chapter proposals are invited covering a range of topics comprising, but not restricted to:

    • New historical insights of LA women’s football;
    • Grassroots experiences in Latin American women’s football;
    • Outstanding women who contributed to the development of LA women’s football;
    • Innovative women’s football educational projects;
    • New theoretical approaches to football and gender in LA;
    • Social activism, feminism and football;
    • Female football fans;
    • Sexualities, women and football;
    • Feminist critical football pedagogies;
    • Women in the football media;
    • Social media, women and football;
    • Harassment, discrimination and women’s football


    Submission of chapter proposals: 22nd  April 2020.

    Do you have any questions? Please send an email to the editor  ( and he will be happy to discuss them with you.

    The editor can be contacted in English, Spanish or Portuguese.  

     *Dr. Jorge Knijnik is a Brazilian-Australian academic currently working as an Associate Professor at Western Sydney University (Australia). Dr. Knijnik has undertaken his doctoral studies at Universidade de Sao Paulo (Brazil) where he has developed an original interpretation of women’s and gender issues in football and human rights’ violations. He has published widely in themes related to women, gender, football and sports sociology and history. In 2010, he was presented the prestigious ‘building the gender equity’ award by UNICEF, the Brazilian Research Council and the UN-Women, for his research work that promotes gender equity within educational settings.  He manages the CEV-Gender and Sport  online community.