Body Checking Not Allowed

Throughout her life, a girl might face many forms of gender stereotyping and prejudice, which can also influence how she approaches the world and perceives her reality. When it comes to choose a study path; how she lives her sexuality; her “role” in a relationship or within the family; obstacles at the workplace. As well as the sport she decides to practice.

Ice hockey, like many other physical sports, is seen as a masculine discipline and not really suitable for a girl. Even though it is the most popular sport in Switzerland, hardly anyone knows there is also a women’s championship. Despite being top league players, the girls are not paid, unlike their male counterparts who are professional players and earn several thousand francs each month. Even if some have participated in World Championships and Olympics with the National Team, none can become a full time athlete. Therefore, because hockey will never become a profession, the girls are obliged to work or keep studying in order to play, and during the season, they find themselves having to juggle their work and school commitments with practice, games and away games. 

With my project ‘Body checking not allowed’ I followed the Lugano women’s team to show the girls’ commitment, dedication and passion. Despite the difference in resources, mostly financial, when compared to the men’s team, with their perseverance the girls are a great example of women’s empowerment and the dismantling of gender bias. Although a lot more needs to be done. 

The series was published in the special edition of the swiss newspaper LeTemps, on the occasion of the national women's strike on June 14th, 2019.

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