OTHER

Peru loves its football

Keph Senett
Author
Keph Senett

Like the rest of South America, #Peru loves its #football. Despite an irregular performance that has skewed mediocre for decades, the men’s side of the country’s national team still enjoys relative fame and ongoing financial support. Professional women’s football, on the other hand, is mainly ignored. Neither the program nor the players are properly funded and the team’s performance is left more to fortune than to training. However, women in Peru have found a place in the game at the community level and use their participation to encourage health, wellness, political engagement and harmony.

In late 2014, I travelled in Peru to interview female #footballers from the #Andes, the #Amazon and the capital city of #Lima. I spoke with players at the recreational, semi-professional and professional levels about their experiences in the game and their hopes for the future.

Before arriving in Peru, I already had the idea that football played an important role for some Andean women. Back in 2009, the Guardian published a photo essay detailing a tournament played by mamachas, some with captions that hinted at the interplay between the game and how their communities were run. 

Al Jazeera released an episode of its documentary television program, Witness, a few years later that centred on Juana, an Andean corn and potato farmer who started a women’s football league. The consequences of her initiative were that previously disenfranchised women gained social and political power and became leaders in their communities. 

I was curious to learn more about how football relates to the many oppressions faced by rural, indigenous women from farming communities.