Female arbitration trio is a historic milestone and a worrying warning

Three women today wrote a remarkable chapter in the history of the World Cup.

The French Stéphanie Frappart led, with the Mexican Karen Diaz Medina and the Brazilian Neuza Back, the first female arbitration trio of a match at the Men’s World Cup, in the confrontation between Costa Rica and Germany.

The first edition of the event took place in the distant year of 1930. It took us almost a hundred years to get here. Just like we need to wait until 2022 to hear women narrating and commentating on TV.

In the less distant year of 2020, in one of my first columns here on UOL, entitled Where are the minas?, I spoke of Frappart, who had just become the first woman to officiate a men’s Champions League game. “The event was celebrated as a breakthrough. My will, however, is to scream in revolt. That, in 2020, it is unheard of for a woman to hold virtually any position is simply ridiculous. Outrageous.”

Two years have passed and progress is still slow. We have women in the narration, in the opinions, in the reports, in the whistle. We are, however, the vast minority. A presence as real as it is rare. The more one climbs the hierarchical or prominent scale, the less we exist, the more rarefied and suffocating the air becomes. Not acceptable.

Progress exists and we should celebrate it, of course. Frappart, Diaz Medina and our Back are pioneers whom we will applaud forever. As well as Anas Thaís, Renatas, Natálias, Karines, Bárbaras, Déboras, Caróis, Tamires, Cristianes, Domitilas, Janettes, Fernandas, Millys, Amaras, Luanas, Ales and many others who represent us.

We just can’t take any advance as a sufficient advance. We cannot run the risk of letting the discourse of progress cast a cloud of smoke over reality. The still deeply white and masculine reality of this universe.

At the same time that I welcome Stéphanie, Karen and Neuza to their feet, I make a point of asking them to notice how absurd it is for it to have taken a century to occupy such spaces.

Because we notice. We feel the weight of these novelties on our skin every day.

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