Marta says female footballers still face "resistance" in Brazil.
Who better to talk about the struggles facing football than the woman known across the world as "the female Pele?," according to Mendonça & Masters of CNN. In fact, if you ask PELE
himself, he will tell you that he calls Brazilian striker MARTA
"Pele with skirts." Ensuring that women's football retains a sense of femininity "is important to the five-time FIFA World Player of the Year." Marta said: "I'm all in favor of us not losing our essence, our female side, because we are women and we have to be proud of that." Marta "is one of the most vocal campaigners in the battle for equality in women's football." Not bad for a girl who grew up in Dois Riachos, "playing football on the streets against boys twice her size and without any formative coaching until the age of 14." Fast forward to '13, "and the 27-year-old is one of the most recognizable faces in the sport, starring for Swedish side Tyresö FF in Stockholm." Marta believes that "attitudes towards women within football have remained stuck in the past." Marta: "I think it has changed a bit, but that mentality still exists. There's still prejudice and that resistance regarding women not only on female football but in various activities." According to the latest figures published by FIFA, "29 million women and girls play football worldwide." But while the women's game has grown in the U.S. and Europe, "progress has been far more difficult to achieve in Brazil." Even the achievements of the national team, which has won two silver medals and finished as runner-up at the last World Cup, "has not been enough to get the professional game off the ground." Marta: "Those three medals till today were useless because our reality hasn't changed that much. There were promises. There was a promise of starting a league, of doing this, of doing that, but in reality nothing was done and we are still fighting" (CNN, 8/7