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The greatest victory for Brazilian women's football during the 2019 FIFA World Cup

Copyrights: Max Pixel

The greatest victory for Brazilian women's football during the 2019 FIFA World Cup

The final article in the series on women's football in the "footballing nation" of Brazil examines the impact of the just-concluded FIFA Women's World Cup on the push for gender equality in football.

After the massive exposition of women’s football before and during the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup (WWC) in France, the pressure for improvements to Brazilian women's football has increased. The increasing visibility of the sport and the gender equality cause resulted in the greatest victory of the WWC for this South American country.

For media companies that decided to broadcast the WWC, women’s football became an excellent business opportunity. Never before has a FIFA Women's World Cup match had as much audience in a single country as Brazil's 2-1 loss to France in the tournament's round of 16. In Brazil, more than 35 million spectators followed the match, which was broadcasted on open TV (Globo and Bandeirantes) besides pay-per-view channel (SPORTV).

The great visibility was fostered by social media and massive user generated content was published revealing a high engagement not only from fans but also from the entire Brazilian society. Advertising campaigns signed by global (Nike) and national brands (Itaú, Guaraná Antarctica) increased the visibility of the sport and showed a trend of the potential of women's football to add value to brands that support women's empowerment.

On 23 June the dream of gold in the WWC ended for the Brazilian team, whose nickname is “guerreiras”, meaning warriors. They arrived in São Paulo in the early hours of 25 June and were welcomed by hundreds of fans singing a samba song that became an anthem of the inclusion of women in the field. "Football is a woman's thing!" was the chorus of the song that reflected victory, not defeat.

After superficial analysis in emblematic posts of newspapers (O Globo), sports organisations (Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF)) and profiles of players and influencers, the general perception was that of an excellent performance of the guerreiras despite the precarious conditions offered for the team.

In addition, both comments on social networks and the traditional press are soberly discussing the mistakes and what can be done to improve Brazilian women's football. The Paulista Football Federation (FPF) is highlighted as a national benchmark to be followed.

Besides that, international benchmarks of countries at different stages of development are cited, ranging from the gender equality achieved by Norwegians, the promotion of women's football in the USA, the recent explosion of the sport in France and Spain, and UEFA's integrated actions to promote women's football in Europe.

The sporting and gender performance of the guerreiras and the enthusiasts for inclusive Brazilian football proved to be victorious in WWC 2019 and changed the status of Brazilian women's football. If pressure continues to grow with greater stakeholder engagement, the threat can turn against the patriarchal society that historically (and globally) hinders women's empowerment. Let's wait for the next chapters to see what the future holds for the guerreiras of the “footballing nation”.

  • Ana Costa is a journalist and researcher at the German University of Sport. She is currently writing her master's thesis on the process of personal brand building of German and Brazilian football team national players.

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Ana Costa

Published

Monday, July 8, 2019 - 11:09