Football, ubiquitous in public spaces, is an important component of urban cultures of the African continent. Competitive or recreational football is a genuine social institution with an equally strong physical and symbolic presence. More and more girls get involved with the sport in its practice but they have to struggle in order to be part of it. This research examines the engagement of girls in junior football teams in Cameroon and Senegal as a real experience of citizenship.

Lay summary

The objective of this project is to study the participation of girls in the public space in contemporary African societies via the examination of women junior football clubs. By studying the participation of girls in football teams and their organizations, our research examines their access to resources and, more generally, their participation in the public and social realms. The collective and associative aspects of girls’ commitment to play football are crucial, indeed, to understanding the processes of confronting, interpreting and renegotiating gender norms and social roles. In practical terms, our project is based on two case studies in Africa: Cameroon and Senegal. For each, we examine the following perspectives: 1) Playing in a local club as a political experience for girls; 2) Membership in a social group, such as a football club, as a means to confront individually and collectively the norms that structure society. 3) Gender sensitivity of public policies regarding youth, in relation with the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.

The research will be conducted in Cameroon and Senegal with research institutes and scholars who engage in the field of sport policies and gender studies. The novelty of the project lies both in its object and in the research process itself, that is inclusive. Young football players will be active participants of the project, through the production of a corpus of audiovisual data, through documentary collaborative filmmaking process, and for the communication to political actors and to their peers.