Women, disobedience and resilience

A decree banned women's football in Brazil. Get to know the stories of the women who kept on playing.

By The Football Museum

Women's game organizers in Bahia (1956) by Archive Correio Paulistano | Biblioteca NacionalThe Football Museum

1950s: three cases in which women's football filled stadiums.

Despite being prohibited, the 1950s saw women's football flower, attracting large audiences and press attention. But the dream was short-lived: when winning fame in the pags of the newspapers, the athletes attracted the gaze of detractors, who began to demand compliance with the law through the press. Because of this, over several months, teams were required to cease their activities.

Headline denounces CND supervision (1956) by Archive Correio Paulistano | Biblioteca NacionalThe Football Museum

Corinthians Pelotense, in Pelotas (RS). (1954) by Periódico Diário Popular de PelotasThe Football Museum

Rio Grande do Sul: Corinthians Pelotense and Vila Hilda

In April 1950, the teams of the city of Pelotas organised their women's teams, composed of young people between 13 and 18 years old. They trained on average twice per week and met for the first time on the 8th of Juuly, 1950. The novelty of the "sporting-social event" sold many tickets for theBento Freitas Stadium (of G.E. Brazil). The 1-1 draw featured Joanete for the black and whites and Carmem for Vila Hilda. Other games happened between August and November, in cities such as Rio Grande, Porto Alegre and Novo Hamburgo. Diário Popular enthusiastically noted the growth of women's football. Other teams appeared in the period, such as Amazonas, Renner and Tirandentes. On the 23rd of November, the newspaper in Pelotas reproduced the article from the Folha da Tarde in Porto Alegre: the National Council of Sports (CND) required compliance with the Decree. Nothing more was notified, and the activities of these clubs was interrupted. The Gaucha Federation of Football only returned to organising women's games in 1983.

Article about the players of Corinthians Pelotense and Vila Hilda. (1950-09-09) by Diário Popular de PelotasThe Football Museum

Madalena Palombo Pruss, considered the best athlete of the city of Pelotas. (1950) by Archive Família PrussThe Football Museum

Team of the 2nd Normal "A". (1951) by Archive LeivinhaThe Football Museum

São Paulo: the Secondarists of São João da Boa Vista

On May 11th 1951 students from the countryside of São Paulo wore shirts from the teams of the capital, Palmeiras Football Club and Sanjoanense Sport Society, to raise funds to educate girls. The Dr. Oscar de Andrade Nogueira Stadium was filled to see the girls from the second grade of high school from Christiano Osório de Oliveira state school. The event brought together an estimated 5,000 people, as well as local press. The programs Gianelli Films, TV Paulista (SP), Rádio NAcional (RJ) and the local broadcaster registered the game.

Team of the 2nd Normal "B". (1951) by Archive LeivinhaThe Football Museum

Independência Stadium full of fans for the derby between América Futebol Clube vs. Clube Atlético Mineiro. (1959) by Archive Jornal Estado de MinasThe Football Museum

Minas Gerias: Araguari and the Atletico v America derby

The city in the mineiro triangle became known for organising a women's team in 1958, Araguari Atletico Club. The initiative of Ney Montes came abut to raise funds for a school. Around 25 girls formed two teams who debuted in December, to a full stadium. The reprecussions soon reached Belo Horizonte: the team was invited to play at the Independência Stadium, the capital's biggest at the time. The game on the 10th of May 1959 was the main attraction of the Sixth Festival of the Best, promoted by Diário da Tarde. They played in the shirts of the two biggest mineiro teams: Atletico and America. "To establish a spirit of rivalry in this exhibition between these teams we see the use of different shirts as positive, leading to the largest traditional mark of mineira football: the derby of the masses", Diários Associados, 8/5/1959. The rivalryand the novelty attracted over 20 thousand people to the stadium. In 1959, there were games in Uberlândia, Belo Horizonte, Varginha and Salvador. The players received an invitation to play in Mexico. After a little more than a year of activity, under pressure from the local church and the National Council of Sports (CND), the dream was over.

“- Is there an audience for women's games? - the interest is large because of the originality of the matches. - The revenues are good? - A game between the teams from Araguari make around 200 thousand cruzeiros, on average. - Where is this money channeled to? - Theoretically, to the club. - Now, however, I am told that the girls themselves are gratified.” O Globo, 24th April 1959

Beginning of the match between América Futebol Clube and Clube Atlético Mineiro in the Estadio Independência, in Belo Horizonte (MG)., Archive Jornal Estado de Minas, 1959, From the collection of: The Football Museum
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Goalkeeper of the Athletic Club Araguari, Eleuza Santos., O Cruzeiro | Archive Jornal Estado de Minas, 1959, From the collection of: The Football Museum
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Players of the Araguari Athletic Club in match held in Uberlândia (MG)., O Cruzeiro | Archive Jornal Estado de Minas, 1959, From the collection of: The Football Museum
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Cirene Portugal, author of the goal of the Carioca team during the match held in Pacaembu. (1959) by Collection Lover Ibaixe | Archive Museu do FutebolThe Football Museum

1960s: Play football? Only as a "benefit spectacle"

On 17th August 1959, a game between actresses from the theatre from the revues of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro occured. The businessman Lover Ibaixe organised the event aiming to raise funds for the Actors Hospital of São Paulo. The event also happened in the Maracanã and then went to other states, such as Bahia and Sergipe. "The problem is the beginning. If we let this announced game happen between these stars of Rio and São Paulo, the consequence will be that women's football will be consumed and there will never be a solution to this problem" José Augusto Cavalcante, president of the academic directorate of the National School of Physical Education and Sports at the University of Brazil, 1959. A show of stars or a sporting competition? The fine line generated conflict with the authorities. The pretence of announcing the women's game as a "benefit spectacular match" worked to hoodwink the authorities against the prohibition. Despite the prejudiced comments of the chroniclers of the time, the games filled the stadium and raised a generous sum from the tickets sold. "In two games in Bahia and Sergipe, I earned more than in a fortnight in the theatre, with two daily sessions, and three on Satrudays and Sundays. I played in right midfield and for playing hard I became known as Orlando... If I keep earning money like this, I will take my leave from the revue theatre" Riva Ketter, Revista do Rádio, n.535 | December 1959

The income from games The game in São Paulo raised 1,320,500.00 cruzeiros, a value lower only than Corinthians v Palmeiras in the Paulista Championship in 1959. The game at the Maracanã raised 1,130,838.00 Cruzeiros, the derby between Botafogo x América-RJ in the same period raised 953.668 Cruzeiros.

Riva Ketter and Dayse Paiva posing., Collection Lover Ibaixe | Archive Museu do Futebol, 1959, From the collection of: The Football Museum
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Training for the match between actresses., Collection Lover Ibaixe | Archive Museu do Futebol, 1959, From the collection of: The Football Museum
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Training for the match between actresses., Collection Lover Ibaixe | Archive Museu do Futebol, 1959, From the collection of: The Football Museum
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Ticket for match between stars., Collection Lover Ibaixe | Archive Museu do Futebol, 1959, From the collection of: The Football Museum
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The Football Federation of Pernambuco took a stand against the exhibition of football between actresses in the city of Recife (PE)., Archive Correio Paulistano | Biblioteca Nacional, 1959, From the collection of: The Football Museum
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Women’s team of the Sport Commercial Club of the city of Campo Grande (MS). (1961) by Archive Correio Paulistano | Biblioteca NacionalThe Football Museum

The new hobby of the girls from Campo Grande

Esporte Clube Comercial and Grêmio Operário Futebol Clube were two amateur football clubs from Campo Grande (MS) that played far from the federation’s eyes until the 1970s.

Thanks to the participation of some families, these clubs exhibited women's teams during the banning period. The Belmar Fidalgo Stadium increased its revenues significantly thanks to the participation of women. But always as charity matches.

Women’s team of Grêmio Operário Futebol Clube of the city of Campo Grande (MS). (1961) by Archive Correio Paulistano | Biblioteca NacionalThe Football Museum

The players and captains Ana Amélia and Giodano. (1961) by Archive Correio Paulistano | Biblioteca NacionalThe Football Museum

The employees from Alfred Teves company. (1971) by Collection Alex Queiroz | Archive Museu do FutebolThe Football Museum

Football in São Paulo’s countryside: the fun and the fight.

From the region of Campo Limpo Paulista to the Vale do Paraíba, the sport kept gaining strength among women. The employees from Alfred Teves company, around Campo Limpo, got together for football matches during their free time.

On December 1969, posters were hung all over the city of Taubaté. (1969) by Collection Tessalia Souza Bagdadi Tau | Archive Museu do FutebolThe Football Museum

In Taubaté, the players from IDESA gathered and excited the whole town. They were featured in several newspaper headlines that highlightes the team’s great performance.

Their skills never left any doubts. (1969) by Archive Jornal Última Hora | Collection Tessalia Souza Bagdadi Tau | Archive Museu do FutebolThe Football Museum

For the right to play, the girls from Ponte Preta de Jacareí gathered in 1969 trying to cancel the decreet once and for all. One of the members from the movement, Luci, jersey number 10 on her team, declares that their goal was to “stop this hateful discrimination”.

On the fight against the prohibition of women's football. (1965) by Archive Jornal Última Hora | Collection Tessalia Souza Bagdadi Tau | Archive Museu do FutebolThe Football Museum

Players of Vespasiano and Oficina on the pitch of Independente, in Vespasiano (MG). (1968) by Archive Jornal Estado de MinasThe Football Museum

Vespasiano: ball, bazaar and women's football

In July 1968, 30 girls of Vespasiano, a neighbouring city of Belo Horizonte (MG), met up after a wall at the Padre José Senabre fell to raise funds for renovations. Among the profitable ideas were a ball, a bazaar and... why not? A football match! Independente gave up a pitch and ticket office for the game. Vespasiano Sport Club contributed with the uniforms of one of the teams. The other team's strip was supplied by a mechanic's workshop of the city. Because of this the other team was called "Oficina" ("workshop"). A Vespasiano native, Buião, the attacker of Atletico Mineiro and Corinthians, kicked the first ball in the game between Vespasiano and Oficina. Full audience, new games and press coverage ended up attracting the attention of the authorities. As a result, women's football was prematurely ended in the mineira city. "Today Vespasiano has a big tourist attraction. It is the only city in Brazil where women's football is practiced, even with the CND's prohibition" Estado de Minas, 28th July 1968

Oficina team alongside Elair, the masseuse., Archive Jornal Estado de Minas, 1968, From the collection of: The Football Museum
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Dora and Clarice, the city’s top scorer., Archive Jornal Estado de Minas, 1968, From the collection of: The Football Museum
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Edina de Aguiar Malta, Dininha., Archive Jornal Estado de Minas, 1968, From the collection of: The Football Museum
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Photo session held on the pitch of Independência by the newspaper itself for the promotion of the first mineira derby., Archive Jornal Estado de Minas, 1959, From the collection of: The Football Museum
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Danish player portrayed by Semanario Futbol during the II World Championship of Women’s Football. (1971) by Archive Jornal FutbolThe Football Museum

1970s: First World Cups

In February 1970, the International Women's Football Federation was created. One of her first actions was to organise the First Women's World Cup in June 1970 in Italy. Even without FIFA's seal of approval, Germany, Austria, Denmark, England, Italy, Mexico and Switzerland participated. Approximately 50,000 fans witnessed the final match, which was the Danish crowned champions.

"In twelve affiliated countries, women's football is already recognised, and the Germans make moves that favour women footballers. (...) among Latin American countries, no association gives full support to women. (...) in Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Guatemala, even up against everything, several women's teams have already been formed. "- Correio da Manhã, October 2, 1970

In 1971, Mexico hosted the second edition of the championship, this time played between Argentina, Denmark, France, England, Italy and Mexico. The mascot of the event was the character Xochitl - name of a Mexican flower that represents beauty, peace, love and fraternization.

The Mexican Football Federation tried to block access of the players to their fields. The private stadiums Jalisco and Azteca hosted the tournament, whose final match between Denmark and Mexico had 100,000 fans. "After Mexico-68 and Mexico-70, the girls good with balls are making Mexico-71." - Correio da Manhã, June 19, 1971

Caricature satirizes the players., Archive El Informador | Acervo Hemeroteca Nacional do México, 1971, From the collection of: The Football Museum
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Italian team that competed in the unofficial 1970 World Cup in Turin, Italy., Archive Getty Images, 1970, From the collection of: The Football Museum
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Danish national team that competed in the 1970 World Cup in Turin, Italy., Archive Getty Images, 1970, From the collection of: The Football Museum
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Team of Sport Club Corinthians Paulista. (1977) by Archive Karen Zolko | Collection Museu do FutebolThe Football Museum

The Corinthians of 1977: another fast broken

In 1977, an emblematic year for Corinthians due to the break of a fast of more than 23 years without a title, the alvinegro paulista team inaugurated its first team of women. Under the management of Vicente Matheus, the team operated until 1980, when many teams of women were organised in violation of the prohibition on playing.

Despite bearing the name of the Sport Club Corinthians Paulista, the group was prevented from wearing the original uniform of the men's team. The reason? Not to characterise the initiative as a football entity of the São Paulo club and, thus, to avoid the Federation Paulista and the CBF preventing the team from playing ...

Formation of the female team of S.C. Corinthians Paulista. (1977) by Archive Karen Zolko | Collection Museu do FutebolThe Football Museum

Women participating in the 1st National Festival of Women in the Arts in the streets of Avenida Paulista, São Paulo. (1982) by Archive Rose do Rio | Archive Museu do FutebolThe Football Museum

1980s: regulation at last

Rose do Rio and the 1st National Festival of Women in the Arts

Singer, actress and football player Rose Cordeiro Filardi, the Rose of Rio, fought for women’s football to become an authorised and recognised practice. She worked to insert a women’s game in the programme of the 1st National Festival of Women in the Arts, held in São Paulo, from September 3 to 12, 1982. With feminist connotations, the event was promoted by the actress Ruth Escobar, with the seal of Nova Magazine, bringing together women from different countries.

For the closing of the festival, a match was scheduled between women's teams from Rio and São Paulo, a preliminary match to the derby between São Paulo and Corinthians, at the Morumbi stadium. Despite the end of the Decree, the sports practice was not yet regulated and the CND only allowed the game to play after it was set as a spectacle: the two halves were reduced to 20 minutes each and the official referee dismissed. In front of approximately 68 thousand people, the game was won by the Cariocas by 4 x 0. The actress Ruth Escobar, from the team from Rio de Janeiro, swapped shirts with a player from the team from São Paulo on the pitch. This typical gesture between men was shocking ... and eventually became a rule, for women’s football: women cannot change their shirts on the pitch!

Debaters and guests of the First National Festival of Women in the Arts in São Paulo. (1982) by Archive Rose do Rio | Archive Museu do FutebolThe Football Museum

Rose among one of her first women's football teams in Rio de Janeiro. (1982) by Archive Rose do Rio | Archive Museu do FutebolThe Football Museum

Rose do Rio after the founding of the Women's Football Association in Rio de Janeiro in the early 1980s. (1980) by Archive Rose do Rio | Archive Museu do FutebolThe Football Museum

PUC Campinas team. (1983) by Collection Romeu Castro | Archive Museu do FutebolThe Football Museum

The 1983 regulation

The long-awaited regulation of women's football took place in March 1983. The weariness of the military regime and the advances of social movements - including feminists - contributed to making football practice a reality. Clubs and championships have appeared in all regions of the country, giving way to a demand staunched for over 40 years.

Suzana Cavalheiro for Isis Pop alongside Atlético Mineiro player. (1983) by Collection Suzana Cavalheiro | Archive Museu do FutebolThe Football Museum

The regulation presented differences with men’s football, such as:

Matches were 70 minutes, with half time of 15 to 20 minutes

The ball had a smaller circumference, between 62 and 66 centimeters

The maximum weight of the ball was 390 grams

Players should wear boots with metal or pointed studs

It was forbidden to charge for access to games

Players could not change shirts with their opponents after matches

Lúcia and her sister Heloisa Baldy dos Reis (1983) by Collection Heloisa Baldy dos Reis | Archive Museu do FutebolThe Football Museum

The Metropolitan Tournament of Gazeta Esportiva. (1984) by Collection Heloisa Baldy dos Reis | Archive Museu do FutebolThe Football Museum

Guarani team in the derby against Ponte Preta in the I Campineiro Championship. (1983) by Collection Heloisa Baldy dos Reis | Archive Museu do FutebolThe Football Museum

Championship between the Teams of Sport and Santa Cruz at the Bidu Krause Social Center, Recife (PE). (1983) by Collection Museu da Cidade do RecifeThe Football Museum

Match promoted by the Secretariat of Social (1983) by Collection Museu da Cidade do RecifeThe Football Museum

Pitch crowded with fans (1983) by Collection Museu da Cidade do RecifeThe Football Museum

PUC Campinas team. (1983) by Collection Romeu Castro | Archive Museu do FutebolThe Football Museum

Credits: Story

SAO PAULO STATE GOVERNMENT
Governor | João Doria
Secretary of Culture and Creative Economy of the State of São Paulo
Secretary | Sérgio Sá Leitão
Assistant Secretary | Claudia Pedrozo
Coordinator of the Museum Heritage Preservation Unit | Antonio Lessa

FOOTBALL MUSEUM
Culture, Education and Sport - social organization of culture
Administrative Council
President | Carlos Antonio Luque
Vice President | Clara of Asunción Azevedo
Executive Director | Eric Klug
Administrative and Financial Director | Victoria Boldrin
Director of Content | Daniela Alfonsi

IMPEDIMENTO MUSEUM
Google Initiative and Museum of Football
Curator Daniela Alfonsi and Camila Aderaldo - Football Museum
Research Assistant Ligia Dona - Football Museum

Virtual exhibition Michael Jackson
Research Aira Bonfim and Cassimano
Text Aira Bonfim and Daniela Alfonsi

Virtual exhibition Lea Campos
Research Aira Bonfim and Cassimano
Text Aira Bonfim and Daniela Alfonsi

Virtual Exhibition Museum of Impediment
Research Aira Bonfim, Ligia Dona and Camila Aderaldo
Text Aira Bonfim and Daniela Alfonsi

Credits: All media
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