Can Girls Become Footballers?
About formation of gender and (re-)production of inequality

Jesper Fundberg & Lars Lagergren
Dept. of Sport Sciences, Malmö University


The aim of this article is to discuss the formation of female elite athletes as a gender shaping process through a power perspective. The concepts productive power and biopower together with theories of male hegemony are applied in the analysis. Interviews, observations and surveys were methods employed to collect the empirical material. The processes of selection in an elite soccer club were examined in order to understand how expectations are communicated and filled with meaning, and which words and designations were used by leaders and parents when communicating with the young players. Our data showed that the players received a much clearer response as girls than as soccer players. Neither leaders nor parents saw soccer as a career choice. Put together, this creates a paradox: it’s only the girl who resists and challenges these low expectations by creating her own, that can reach the top level as a professional footballer and not as a girl or woman playing soccer.


Get the full-text article in Swedish at Scandinavian Sport Studies Forum!


JESPER FUNDBERG is PhD in Ethnology and Associate Professor of Sport Sciences at Malmö University. His research focuses on gender and diversity aspects of sports.

LARS LAGERGREN is PhD in Technology and social change and Associate Professor of Sport Sciences and Leisure Studies. Research interests are adult organisation and governance of youth sports and youth work.

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