Indigenous Ecuadorian women claim the right to play football

Nancy Quinatoa, 24, from the Indian province of Tungurahua, is an enterprising woman who works as a secretary in the Mushucrruna cooperative in Pilahuin. The mother of two sons, Ameli and Jair, shares her husband Diego’s passion for soccer. She practices this sport in their community, as part of the Warmis tournament for women and has been crowned as champion several times.

(Soundbite, Spanish) Nancy Quinatoa, indigenous footballer
“We are an indigenous team, we assume this culture as we always play with our cultural identity.”

It used to be difficult for a woman to practice football, with most of them finding it difficult to find a team. Today, this marks a victory achieved for the rights of indigenous women in Ecuador. They rejected the status quo and overcame this stigma. Despite facing negative comments and insults, the women now enjoy this sport as much as men do.

(Soundbite, Spanish) Nancy Quinatoa, indigenous footballer
“We practice the sport when we did not before. Before our indigenous communities, some brave women tried to play but men told them no, that this was not a sport for them. Today, we can see that attitudes are changing as time passes.”

With persistence and perseverance, indigenous women are asserting their right to equal opportunities in education and sports. This is part of a broader struggle to end all forms of discrimination and eliminate all forms of violence and harmful practices against women and girls.

The grit of indigenous women has helped them score a goal in defending their rights as women, to happiness and to their indigenous identity.

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