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31 August 2020
Football Feminisation: Political, Sociological and Cultural issues
2019 appears like a relevant year for women’s football development. Mediatisation and high television rating around World Cup 2019 put its actors in the spotlight, also becoming a forum of expression for them. In this regard, Megan Rapinoe’s speech during The Best award Ceremony 2019 illustrates a certain politicisation of football female athletes, highlighting further issues linked to football feminisation.
Historically dominated by men, football – and its gradual feminisation – offers several tools in gender studies field. Football has already been analysed as an illustration of how gender identities are constructed, enhancing a certain conception of masculinity where women do not belong. Yet, contestation dynamics of such an exclusion space remain underexplored. Nevertheless, an overlook on women’s struggle for access to ‘masculine tradition’ sports offers new perspectives on the understanding of gendered political and social contestations.
The Université Libre de Bruxelles (CEVIPOL)is organising a multidisciplinary conference on 9-10 October 2020 in order to enlighten the social, cultural and political issues linked to football feminisation. If football is usually seen as an arena dominated by men, the purpose of this conference is to acknowledge how and to what degree this arena could also be a field of social struggle for equality. More specifically, it will focus on two main themes:
Women’s conquest of football structures
The first theme will focus on the success and failures of football structures’ conquest by women. What are the cultural, social and political obstacles preventing the women’s access to football sphere, and how do they manage to bypass them? Under which dynamics women’s football has expanded through history considering those difficulties?
Football as a feminist tool
The second theme will intend to identify how football can be seen as a forum of political and social contestation. To what extent women’s football enhances its players’ politisation? By what means football can be a space of empowerment for women? Which gender inequalities or violences can be identified in the football sphere, and which actions are set up to fight them? Can football be considered as a feminist tool, and if so, what would be its limits?
Selected papers from the Conference will be published as a special issue of Soccer & Society.
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