Photo by Dana Rösiger/Discover Football Brasil 2014
Photo by Dana Rösiger/Discover Football Brasil 2014

Media and women’s association football – developing role models

Expanding her initial autoethnographic research project on women and football in Brazil, PhD candidate Luciane Lauffer is preparing a comparative study on the role of media in the representation of women’s football in Australia and Brazil.

As a sport, football has particular significance for women around the world. According to the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), football is the fastest growing team sport for women in the world, projected to expand from the current 30 million to almost 50 million players by 2019. Specifically in Australia, Roy Morgan research has uncovered that football has become the most popular team sport for women and children in 2015.

However, in Brazil, the country known as futebol nation, women’s football continues to struggle since its reintroduction to the country, in 1979, after 38 years of ban. Until today, there are very few professional clubs and the sport remains at large a male dominant sport. It is estimated that less than one million women play football in Brazil.

Examining the role of media in portraying women in sport may assist identifying how female role models are developed, and their influence in bringing young girls to the sport. Ascertaining media’s contribution to the growth of the sport may assist governing bodies in most traditional countries in fostering and expanding participation of women in football, as well as in other sports.