Despite boasting one of the finest women’s national sides in football, there is work still to be done when it comes to some Brazilian football followers’ attitudes towards women in the game. Doing their level best to permanently banish such antiquated sentiments are a three-person team in Curitiba, consisting of two engineers and one architect.
“Women do work well together,” said Susana Affonso da Costa, the coordinator of the committee overseeing 2014 FIFA World Cup™ issues in the Curitiba prefecture. “Gender isn’t what’s important: it's determination, education and dedication that matter.”
Working alongside Affonso da Costa is fellow engineer Zelinda Rosario and architect Priscila Tiboni. Together, the three employees of the Curitiba Institute for Study and Urban Planning (IPPUC) have been charged with monitoring the work being carried out on the Arena da Baixada and the city’s urban mobility network. It is their role to keep three levels of government informed and up-to-date.
“It’s a technical process, though it also has a political element,” explained Affonso da Costa. “I’d not set foot in a stadium before 2009, at the FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa, but I’m learning more and more each day. I can now confidently say that I understand the game and what this tournament means.”
The talented triumvirate also noted that, since their closer involvement with football, they are increasingly comfortable when the conversation turns to the beautiful game. “Before, a man might never ask a woman anything about football. That’s starting to change and we’re ever more able to give answers and opinions,” said Tiboni. “We’ve got a really good understanding between the three of us. I think the fact we’re women helps us bring a high level of sensitivity and organisation to proceedings.”
And in addition to these positive qualities, Rosario rounded off the conversation by revealing two of the most important lessons she and her colleagues have learned so far: “You overcome nerves by picking up experience, while there’s never any point in losing your patience: you have to take things step by step.”