Caitlin Davis Fisher

Former professional football player in the U.S., Sweden and Brazil, former captain of the Harvard women’s soccer team, anthropologist, writer, gender activist and current co-leader of Guerreiras Project.   

“As a woman in a country where football is for men, it is always necessary to prove your qualities.”

Caitlin moved to Brazil ten years ago to play professional football for Santos F.C.– better known as ‘Pele’s club’ where she experienced gender-related prejudice like she has never done before. The image of Brazil as the great footballing nation is still exclusively related to the names of male football players. In contrast to this, soccer [football] in the U.S. is a non-male connoted sport, most popular amongst middle-class girls and women. Seeds for the GUERREIRASPROJECT started there with the stories she and her teammates shared as female players confronting prejudice in Brazil.

Caitlin continued her professional football career in Sweden and the U.S., while carrying out anthropological research on a FIFA scholarship and, later, focusing on gender, development and globalization in her studies. In 2007, she moved to New York and joined the Nike Foundation team that launched the Girl Effect, an international campaign against girl’s poverty. She then headed back down to Brazil to reconnect with her Santos teammates and develop the Guerreiras Project. Combining academic with activist work, she carried out ethnographic research focused on gender, the body, and economic development while co-leading the GUERREIRASPROJECT and working as the Brazil Country Representative for WomenChangeMakers.

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Place: Several cities, Brazil
Founded in: 2010
Members: 600 young people have participated in Guerreiras workshops
Greatest success: Finding their voices as female players and community leaders

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Guerreiras Project

“Mudando cabeças, corpos e campos!”

Moving minds, bodies and fields!
The GUERREIRASPROJECT is a collective of athletes, artists and academics that uses football as a tool for gender justice and social change. The name comes from the Portuguese term ‘guerreira’ which means ‘female warrior’. Female football players in Brazil use this term on account of the struggle to be accepted and supported within the traditionally male dominated game.

Since 2010, the project has used the universal language of football to reveal, explore and address gender prejudice. It aims at promoting empowered minds and bodies and raising questions around the regulation of bodies, possibilities of resistance, and social justice within and beyond the game. Therefore, GUERREIRASPROJECT launches multimedia exhibitions, performances and research as well as capacity-building workshops to position professional football players as ambassadors of women’s rights and gender justice in their communities.

“We work in local communities across Brazil promoting gender equality and speaking about the role of women in society using football as our tool. We do workshops, and we use our stories, as women in Brazil who have experienced barriers and prejudice in this sport to challenge gender prejudice and critically reflect on traditional gender roles and attitudes with others.”