“Futbolera: A History of Women and Sports in Latin America”

This book looks into how women’s history in sports has been largely ignored in Latin America even though women have been involved in sports for over a century. It goes all the way back to the early 20th century to trace women soccer in the region. It covers their origins and struggles in the sport and how they were viewed in a male dominated sport.

Chapter on is titled “From Roca to Rio” and it begins to explore the earliest history of women’s soccer in Argentina and Brazil where the sport became very popular among many women in the early 20th century. The author goes into how women soccer teams were organized through labor unions and political groups and were a way for the women to get together and promote gender equality in their towns. It talks about the challenges the women faced by trying to participate in sports in a society they was overwhelmingly against women involvement in sports. The women were judged by the people around them and viewed as unfeminine or immoral for competing in sports.

Through these challenges the popularity of women’s soccer continued to grow in popularity and by the 1920’s there were many women soccer teams and leagues in both Brazil and Argentina. This progress came to a quick halt as authoritarian regimes rose to power in both countries in the 1930’s and 40’s. This rise had a devastating effect on women’s sports and many teams disbanded and were forced to disband. This really pushed the progress of women’s sports back in these countries and was a massive blockade for them to overcome in the upcoming years. The chapter then just sets the stage for the rest of the book by talking about current women’s sports. It talks about the struggles they’re still facing and their goal to achieve gender equality and exploring all of Latin America women’s sport history.

Ethan Young