International Women's Day: Struggles, Achievements in Sports & First Women's Futsal World Cup

As we commemorate International Women's Day, it's time to reflect on women’s achievements and contributions in various fields. Sport stands out as an arena where women have made significant achievements, breaking barriers, shattering stereotypes, and rewriting the narratives of what it means to compete, excel, and inspire. Despite the enormous progress, we need to remember that we still have to work harder to ensure equality of opportunity in sports.

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At Senda, we understand the importance of empowering women in sports. This International Women’s Day, we value our collaboration with Soccer Without Borders, a non-profit organization dedicated to using soccer as a tool for positive change. The women’s game has taken huge strides in recent years, but there’s still a long way to go. Despite the immensely important role women play in futsal and soccer, they still face major obstacles and challenges. That’s why we’re proud partners with Soccer Without Borders, because they mean empowerment, they mean community, and they mean change.

The First Women's Futsal World Cup will kick-off in 2025

Last year, FIFA announced the first Futsal Women’s World Cup in 2025. Great strides were made towards this new global competition. A couple of years ago—during the ninth edition of the men’s futsal World Cup in Lithuania—the world’s most prominent female futsal players called on FIFA to end its “deeply discriminatory” approach to the women’s game by launching a World Cup to bring parity with the men’s FIFA-sanctioned small-sided game. In a letter sent to the FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, the players demanded an end to their “marginalization”. They urged the governing body to make a women’s event a priority amid the booming popularity of the indoor five-a-side sport played globally by an estimated 60 million people. One year later, in October 2023, FIFA’s Council announced the brand-new FIFA competition: the FIFA Futsal Women's World Cup™. Undoubtedly, this is a significant achievement for women in futsal.
But while there have been significant achievements in women's sports like this, several pending goals remain to be addressed to ensure equal opportunities, representation, and recognition for female athletes as pay equity, media coverage, investment & sponsorship and representation.

Continued efforts from athletes, sports organizations, sponsors, and policymakers are crucial in driving positive change in the realm of women's sports. This year’s theme “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress” is aimed at tackling economic disempowerment and perfectly applies to sports.

Voices from the Court: Conversations with Women's Futsal Players

Julia Paz Dupuy (J.P.D) | Argentina National Team and Poio FS -Spain-

Silvina "Torito" Espinazo (T.E) | Argentina National Team and Racing Club -Argentina-

What has been your personal experience in women's futsal so far? What challenges have you faced as a player?

J.P.D: Well, my personal experience in women's futsal, and more specifically the challenges I had to face, I believe the greatest one was having to demand a competition that should have existed on its own, as it is FIFA's obligation to oversee beach soccer, futsal, and women's football. I think that was the biggest challenge, and it's interesting to consider how certain things are given to male players by default, while female players had to go out and seek them.
Also, another thing, I remember being 14 years old and tweeting, questioning why this competition doesn't exist, if it's the same sport. So, I think one of the biggest challenges was that, demanding it and at the same time organizing a fight, which obviously was through a players' association that gathered the most prominent figures, which was the unified voice of a demand, otherwise it would have been very difficult. And besides, it was for a long time, it wasn't overnight, obviously since 2014 when the movement started and different campaigns, measures, letters, meetings were carried out, until perhaps reaching the most influential.

T.E: My experience so far has been very positive. One of the main challenges I've faced is promoting and encouraging participation from my position as a player. I believe it's crucial to transmit the passion for the sport and the opportunities for growth within the discipline, so that more women choose futsal as their sporting career.



What impact do you think the Women's Futsal World Cup will have on the growth and development of the sport worldwide?


J.P.D: I believe the greatest impact will be on the future generation. I think one of the major reasons why some players decided to join ONCE was due to economic reasons but also because of competitive opportunities. So, I think having a World Cup will be beneficial first, so that players no longer have to fight for that, which I find crucial. Secondly, the younger ones can dream of playing it, and then have players to look up to, to inspire them, what we obviously call role models. Nowadays, no player has a role model who has played in a World Cup or has been the best in a World Cup because there hasn't been one. So, I believe the impact will be seen in the younger generations.


T.E: It will surely have a significant impact. An event of this magnitude is always important for growth, dissemination, and furthering the awareness of women's futsal worldwide. We hope it will be a turning point for leagues around the world to start expanding.



What message would you send to young women who dream of following in your footsteps in women's futsal?



J.P.D: No, well, it really seems like a lot to say that any player dreams of following in my footsteps, but well, I believe that, more than anything, if I have been able to or can influence in any way, it's in showing that there is a possible professional path to live off of this, to also represent your country's colors, to compete, to travel the world. I've been playing abroad since I was 18 years old, and I had the opportunity to sign a professional contract at a fairly young age, which is really something I never would have imagined. So, I don't know if anyone dreams of being like me, I don't really think so, but you never know who you can inspire. However, I do believe that I can mark or show a possible path, I think that's more along the lines. That seems more realistic to me, to mark a possible path.

T.E: I would encourage them to always try, no matter the cost or the time it takes. It's always worth fighting for what you dream of, and eventually, it pays off.

What changes would you like to see in women's futsal in the coming years to promote equality and empowerment of women in sports?

J.P.D: Regarding the changes I would like to see in women's futsal in the coming years, I believe one of the main reasons for the lack of competitive opportunities, as well as salary inequality and structural issues, is the lack of women in decision-making positions, in hierarchical positions where decisions are made, and where women don't have a voice. I remember looking at how many women there were in FIFA. Why is this? Because we didn't have a specialized women's futsal committee in FIFA. I think that would be a big step forward, a great start as well, a committee specialized solely in women's futsal, not just a branch of eleven-a-side football, but measures specifically designed for women's futsal.

T.E: Improving working conditions and expanding the rights of players in all leagues. Continuing to promote the discipline, attracting investors and sponsors to support the global growth of futsal, with genuine interest in the activity.

As a sustainable and innovative sportswear brand, Senda strongly supports initiatives aligned with women’s development in sports. We are very enthusiastic about the upcoming inaugural Futsal Women’s World Cup next year, the first milestone in this long pathway to true equality for women in sports.

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