Notes on women’s collections at the Football Museum

Since 2015, the Football Museum has been dedicated to portraying, researching and celebrating women’s football in Brazil. Throughout this trajectory, two temporary exhibitions have already taken place — “Visibilidade para o Futebol Feminino” (Visibility for Women’s Football), in 2015, and “CONTRA-ATAQUE!” (COUNTER-ATTACK!) “As Mulheres do Futebol” (The Women of Football), in 2019, seven virtual exhibitions, an audio guide, three editathons and many cultural events on the subject. In addition to these efforts, at the beginning of 2022, the first edition of the Young Researchers Selection Call for Applications was launched, aimed at recent graduates or postgraduates, in order to produce knowledge about women’s football and women in football in Brazil.   

Through the collections of the Brazilian Football Reference Center (CRFB), the research should deal with the history of professional and amateur athletes, referees, coaches, managers, announcers, journalists, among others, who work or have worked in the construction of the sport in the country. Among the intentions of the call for applications was to contribute to the qualification of the collection, to produce written materials on the subject and also to generate products for the dissemination of knowledge.  

In all, more than 70 applications were approved from different Brazilian states. With the possibility of carrying out the research remotely, researchers Natália Silva, a journalist from Malhada de Pedras, in the southwest region of Bahia, and Taiane Anhanha Lima, a historian from São Sepé, Rio Grande do Sul, were approved. In the following text, the researchers tell us what it was like to spend eight months as young researchers at the Football Museum.  


A dive into the oral sources of the CRFB, by Natália Silva  

Before I tell you about the experience itself, I’d like to share with you the tranquility that marked the call for applications process. This type of selection tends to sound unfeasible, especially for those who were not born, have lived and/or studied in the big cities. It was never something that made me give up before trying, but I know that it can be an obstacle for many people, so I want to tell you: if I, who am from a town with less than 10,000 inhabitants, in the interior of the interior of “Sertão nordestino” (the northeastern hinterland), got in, you can too.  

Having said that, the choice of oral sources was obvious to me, as I had just carried out a project in which I had interviewed black Brazilian women who work in or experience football in some way. That’s why, as soon as the call for applications was published, many people suggested that I apply with a view to continuing to work with this type of historical document. What’s more, I imagined that this opportunity could help me return to university working with this type of source.  

The first look at the collection was very special, but at the same time frightening. If, on the one hand, a universe of possibilities opened up — and it was the opportunity to access a wealth of material on the history of women in football in Brazil — on the other hand, for a few hours, I didn’t really know what to do with all that documentation or if I would have that much processing capacity. As I was given autonomy of choice — a point I think is very important to emphasize — I chose to continue with my line of work, from my point of view in the world: black women from the Northeast. However, after some initial guidance and reading, I chose to broaden my perspective and decided to focus my research on a study of the history of non-white women born in the North and Northeast of Brazil, based on the narratives of Alline Calandrini and Marta Silva.  

I’ve separated excerpts [1] from the interviews that were used in the research and are in the collection. First, I’ll highlight their experiences in their homelands. In the words of Alline Calandrini: 

“I didn’t use to watch any women’s football, except for… the Olympics, which I remember watching once and we lost to the United States. It’s the only memory I have of seeing women’s football on TV. So, I don’t remember seeing any championships, I don’t remember seeing anything, and to me it was a sport that wasn’t even practiced here in Brazil. For me, if I wanted to play, I’d have to go to the United States because there was nothing in the country. I saw nothing, nothing, nothing.” (Alline Calandrini).  

As in the words of Marta Silva:  

“So, I saw football as an option for me to make that happen, right? Helping my family and so on, because it was the best thing I could do. So that’s when I started to draw up this plan to… become a professional athlete. And then, when I was fourteen, I had the opportunity to come to Rio, to train at Vasco, to show myself to Brazil, right? Because in Alagoas, a very small state, in the little town where I was born, with twelve thousand inhabitants, only the local people knew me. So, it was an opportunity for me to show myself in Brazil and, who knows? possibly make part of the national team and have the chance to play in a World Cup.” (Marta Silva).  

Finally, Alline talks about her relationship with women’s football, and Marta then talks about her impressions of its evolution.  

“So, even though it’s not very easy, I don’t have anything to complain about because everything I’ve achieved, in fact, if you know me, you know me because I’m a women’s football player, I’m a football athlete. So, I proudly swear up and down. I’m flying the flag for women’s football, without a doubt.” (Alline Calandrini).  

“People are looking at women’s football in a different way, much more positively, but I think it’s really about society accepting the sport and realizing that it’s been around for a long time. […] Thank goodness things have changed, right? And may it continue to change for the better because human beings being forbidden to do what they like, without having any motivation, or without denigrating anyone or hurting anyone, is something that should never have existed.” (Marta Silva).  

In addition to producing the scientific article, it was necessary to build a product for scientific dissemination based on the research. At first, I thought of producing a series of videos for social media, but during the process I came up with the idea of an educational game. I had a meeting with the Educational Center of the Football Museum and, after understanding how I could work, I created a game that was presented at the Seminar to disseminate the research carried out. In addition, the call for applications also provided for a contribution to cataloging and qualifying information from the CRFB’s collection, so I worked briefly with the Museum of the City of Recife Collection and more in-depth with the Aline Pellegrino Collection.  


Challenges and possibilities of working with written and iconographic sources, by Taiane Anhanha Lima  

In April 2022, we began researching the collections made available by the CRFB. There were many options, many ideas and research paths that were drawn up through so many sources, such as photographs, newspaper cuttings and documents. One particular piece of material that caught my eye from the outset were the collections of women journalists, which, when I read more carefully, I discovered were about Radio Woman. Until then, I didn’t know this radio station or all the women in the CRFB collection. But what was the Radio Woman experience all about? It was an initiative created at the beginning of the 1970s in the city of São Paulo which, at weekends, was dedicated exclusively to narrating, commentating and interviewing the most varied men’s football matches.  

I began to think how innovative this was for a time when it must have been even more difficult to be a woman and talk or comment about football (let’s remember that at that time, officially, women were forbidden to play the sport). If women journalists are still fighting for respect today, what would it have been like back then? The available sources gave me some answers, but they also made me understand more about the experiences of those who took part in a 100% women’s football program in the 1970s, during Brazil’s military dictatorship. By the end of the research, I felt close to these women. Some of them have already left, but they left their legacy and a story that deserves to be visible to inspire many others who dream of walking this path of sports journalism.   

These collections contain various records, mainly images, personal and professional photographs, documents, cards, newspaper and magazine clippings with their interviews. And who are they? Zuleide Ranieri (narrator), Lea Campos (referee commentator), Germana Garille (field reporter), Claudete Troiano (reporter and narrator), Leila Silveira (commentator and field reporter), Semíramis Alves (field reporter, who has been on the program). Others also worked at the radio station, but we don’t have their records, such as Teresa Leme (driver) and Regina Aparecida da Silva (sound operator).  

Among the main materials, there are images of the professionals interviewing King Pelé, who said “Ladies First” and answered them first; interviews that reveal that they had “some limitations to carry out their activities — they cannot, for example, enter the changing rooms to do interviews…”; full reports on their personal lives, as in the case of Leila Silveira; and also some negative comments about their work, as when Telê Santana was reported to have said: “It doesn’t matter, that woman went straight from the kitchen to the radio booth” [2].  

Leila Silveira interviews Pelé on the pitch. Football Museum Collection | Leila Silveira Collection | Reserved Rights

Having these collections, with this type of documentation, is important, but cataloging, organizing and identifying these materials is also part of a job that facilitates research for those who will use them in the future. In general, it is also essential for the museum to know what types of documents are under its care and their main information. And this was also our job, through cataloging, we recorded the main information about the materials that make up the collection, such as: digitized area of the document, description, date, place, related person, related institution, related event, among others. 

This work is justified for a variety of reasons, but mainly because it has a social relevance in trying to recognize these women and give their work the visibility it deserves. There is a need for more specific academic research on Radio Woman, and with the existence and qualification of this collection, which is so rich in information, future work can emerge on the subject. The sources available on the CRFB can help to better understand these stories and contribute to unveiling this invisibility. Therefore, if you are interested in finding out more about Radio Woman’s collection for research purposes, please contact the CRFB ( 

In addition, as a result of the Call for Applications, a script was produced for a podcast about the history of Rádio Mulher, focusing on some of its trajectories, cutting across race and raising important questions about the program. 

There were several meetings and exchanges with the Young Researchers Call for Applications Committee during this time. In September of this year, at the 4th International Symposium on Football Studies, held in São Paulo, we had the opportunity to meet in person, as well as to present our research and have contact with wonderful research papers. 

For us, Natália and Taiane, these eight months were an incredible professional experience that we will carry with us for life, not only because it took place at the Football Museum, but also because it showed the relevance of scientific research, of discovering and telling stories. It is necessary to register and recognize: two black girls from the interior of their states were able to demonstrate and demarcate their place as researchers of women in football through their work. And that’s very powerful, encouraging, inspiring. 



[1] The excerpts transcribed here have been subtly edited to make them easier to read and more enjoyable. To consult the original transcripts, please contact the CRFB ( 

[2] Antônio F.B. Marcello. Voz fina no jogo bruto (A thin voice in the rough game). Football Museum Collection | Leila Silveira Collection | Reserved Rights. 


Natália Silva and Taiane Anhanha Lima
Young researchers from the Brazilian Football Reference Center 

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