Jéssica Duarte Silva

2022 IVLP Impact Award Project: Play Like a Woman - Women’s Football Against Gender InequalitiesBrazil

Jéssica Duarte Silva is a psychologist from Betim, Brazil. She graduated from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais. Her work promotes trainings on mental health and social justice. She is a community leader working towards social justice so that all people can be free and have access to basic human rights.

Additionally, Jéssica helped create Coletivo Imani, which is a study and discussion group that aims to bring together Black people to reflect on their identity as Black people in Brazil. She also contributes to Galacticas Futebol Clube, which is a women's soccer team that gives women a leading role in sports. 

IVLP Impact Award Project: Play Like a Woman - Women’s Football Against Gender Inequalities

The project "Play Like a Woman" was an initiative to encourage women's football in communities. Football is an important tool to fight gender inequalities. Currently, in Brazil, there is a great difference in the incentive to practice sports between men and women. Women sometimes do not make it to professional football and when they do, they do not receive the same recognition as men do. The manifestation of gender prejudice in Brazilian football is clear. To break this cycle, "Play Like a Woman" made women aware that they can and should be whoever they want to be.

The project was developed with the Galácticas Futebol Clube (@galacticasfutebolclube), which is a women's soccer team based in Betim, Brazil. The team has operated since 2019 and it has athletes between 12 to 40 years old who have the opportunity to promote self-esteem and independence through football. The team has already prepared athletes for professional teams, and it has helped women improve their physical and mental conditions.

"Play Like a Woman" was not just about football. It is about giving every woman in the world the possibility to be whoever they want and to shine wherever they want. During seven months of in-person and virtual activities, the project reached 1,416 individuals, empowering female athletes, building confidence, and inspiring social change.

"The festival was a moment to prove to ourselves, athletes, that we can be wherever we want, but it was also essential to make this clear to society." - Project Participant

IVLP Exchange Experience:

Jéssica was a participant in the IVLP Project Promoting a Prosperous, Safe, and Democratic Future, organized by the U.S. Department of State and Meridian International Center.

Jéssica's exchange experience led to the development of her IVLP Impact Award Project: "Participating in the IVLP made me realize the importance of my role as a community leader. I am a citizen who is more attentive to my community and more active in my city's agenda."

U.S. Communities Visited Virtually:

Denver, CO; Washington, DC; Miami, FL; Boston, MA

Country: Brazil

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