First national conference on women’s football held in Argentina25 April 2017

Thefirstnationalconferenceonwomen’sfootballhasbeenheldinArgentinatoexchangeexperiencesandperspectivesaroundwomen’sfootballtoadvancethesportinthecountry.

Despite the growing popularity of women’s football in Argentina, there is a significant discrepancy between men’s and women’s football. While Argentinian men’s domestic and international football is seen as a reference point worldwide, the women’s national team is currently out of the FIFA rankings for not playing an international match in over two years.

At leadership level, 2016 data from the news website Ámbito.com revealed that among the 30 teams that constitute Argentina’s first division only 3,6% of the decision-making positions are held by women.

The national conference was oganised by Mujeres en Acción, an organisation created by five women working in football and aimed at boosting the participation of women in football. The event was held on 22 April in Rosário days after the launch of a new action plan in the city looking to promote gender equality and equal access to sport to men and women.

The conference was constituted of nine different panels on topics including: sponsorship, marketing and image; women’s football and the media; women in football leadership positions; gender roles; challenges and achievements for female coaches; management and coaching; nutrition and health; beach football; and the experiences of female players.

Speakers included: Angie Shanahan, founder of Rosário’s largest women’s football league – FEM FUTBOL; Marcelo Lewandowsky, sports journalist; Stella Maris Alvarez de Oliveira, Argentina’s first professional female referee; and, Fernando Bacci, sports doctor and doctor of UAI women’s team at the 2016 Libertadores Cup; among others.

A tribute was paid to the players of Argentina’s first women’s football national team, formed in 1971.

Three follow up conferences have already been scheduled to take place in San Luis, San Juan and Mendonza.

In November 2016, two regional events brought together women from across the South American football confederation (CONMEBOL) to discuss similar topics and share best practice. The first was the #WomenIntoSports conference and the second, the La Nuestra football festival, both events the first of their kind in the region.