Lublin Pearls organised themselves online several years ago in a search for a Lublin venue where women could play football in safe space free of prejudice. Some arrived in Lublin to study at the university, hailing from smaller towns which offered girls and women no opportunity to practice football. It soon turned out that the situation in the region’s capital was not much better. “All local women’s clubs were managed by men, the city’s ‘public access’ fields occupied by guys, most of them hugely condescending whenever we wanted to use the facility. Which is exactly why we decided to go the DIY way and create safe space for all women wanting to play football, age, skill, and sexual orientation notwithstanding.” While the group originally mostly included students, the Pearls were rapidly joined by women of different ages, older and younger. Ever since, the Pearls have organised dozens of events to promote women’s football, i.a. an “Anti-Discrimination Match”. The Lublin Pearls – the only Polish football club founded and chiefly managed by women – have for the past three seasons been participating in local league tournaments endorsed by the Polish Football Association.
The Pearls team was expanded to include girls, Lublin’s primary schools pupils; the youngest Wee Pearls team has been recently formed as part of the Club. The Lublin Pearls Association organised a dedicated football tournament for the Wee Pearls and their friends from local primary schools. The event – held at one of the Orlik municipality-owned football fields – was attended by over a dozen girls’ football teams. It was a time of healthy competition, cheering, multiple goals, co-operation, and good fun. Best teams were awarded medals and cups, special prizes presented to particularly accomplished players.
“Once women are provided with development conditions identical to those guaranteed to men, there will be no problem with them achieving identically satisfactory results. We want to use football, a sport discipline enormously popular in Poland, to show that there is no such thing as the traditional division between male and female roles, and that ultimate life choices belong to the girls themselves. We really want to make a contribution to enable Lublin schoolgirls to grow up to become conscious women free of any complexes when compared against their male peers”.
Grant amount: 4400.00 PLN
Photos by: Emilia Oksentowicz