former professional player of Germany’s first division clubs, delegate of the European Gay and Lesbian Sport Federation (EGLSF), leader of the “Working Group on Education“ of the German Football Association, chairwomen of Women’s and Girls’ Football Working Group and board member of the Berlin Football Association, holder of several prizes, author of ”Seitenwechsel“ and member of the Berlin sports club of the same name.
“Role models do not only exist on the professional level!”
When Tanja started playing football in the 1970s, her grandmother wasn’t excited. To her, football was a game for boys and football playing girls would thus be ”Mannsweiber“ (tomboys). Tanja has had to struggle against a lot of opposition, homophobic and sexist prejudice. She witnessed how less talented male players are insulted as „girls“ and football playing girls are per se stigmatized as lesbians or forced to be relegated to a lower league because of financial lacks.
Reflecting social discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation, football thus became the medium of Tanja’s socio-political commitment. After her career as a professional football player in Germany and the U.S., Tanja started to get involved on both the decision-taking level and the grassroots level. By media publicity, authoring, panel discussions, commitment in working groups and local initiatives, she has been working for the visibility of female football players and the denunciation of discriminative structures and restrictive body politics.
City: Berlin, Germany
Founded in: 2012
Greatest Success: Attracting more than 60 women in less than two weeks after the foundation of the club.
“Claiming the pitch!”
In 2012, the enthusiastic women of the NGO DISCOVER FOOTBALL realized their dream and founded their own DISCOVER FOOTBALL club - DFC Kreuzberg. DFC aims to provide an alternative to the repressive and hierarchical club structures which have been experienced by many of the players in the past. They now opt for a form of organization run by the players themselves and based on the ideals of transparency and grassroots democracy.
Within just a few weeks more than 40 women joined the club, a clear indication that this is change of approach is highly welcomed in women’s football. The players of DFC are extremely active both on and off the pitch: they speak out in municipal committees for the rights and representation of women and girls on football pitches. Furthermore, its political group recently developed a campaign against sexism and homophobia in football and society in general.
“DFC is the first football club that I join, because it offers a field for commitment, companionship and personal growth.”