Thursday, October 03, 2002

Sports&Culture File from
NY Times

Thirteen-year-old Lucile Neden, for example, who is half-Canadian, said she was branded a "garçon manqué," a pejorative version of "tomboy." "When the kids at my school heard I played soccer, they laughed," she said. "At first, I fought them, then I ignored them. Now I keep quiet about it. They're all sexist, macho. They think all girls have to do girly stuff like dance. But I just love the ball! I love it!" She rides the Métro clear across Paris to practice at the Association Sportive du Bon Conseil, a sports club much like a neighborhood YMCA. It features one of the city's few girls' teams — 13 girls from 8 to 13, some of whom have never before kicked a ball. The club, in the chic Seventh Arrondissement, created the girls' team seven years ago after an American family lobbied for it. ... Unlike boys of the same age, the girls have to train — and play — on a field half the size of a regulation soccer field, and with seven instead of 11 players. The explanation is that there are not enough girls to sustain larger teams, and not enough good fields to accommodate them. (France has nothing like Title IX, the 30-year-old American law that prohibits sex discrimination in education by institutions receiving federal funds.)

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