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  •  Marta of Brazil controls the ball during a training session at the World Cup in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, 8 June, 2016.

    Marta of Brazil controls the ball during a training session at the World Cup in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, 8 June, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 12 December 2018

Sport can be a key and often untapped way to empower girls and women, although they are underrepresented and underpaid compared with men.

Brazilian soccer superstar Marta Vieira da Silva, awarded six times best world player, becomes Wednesday the first woman to enter Maracana Stadium Hall of Fame, with her footprints being placed in the Maracana's Museum.

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She said she was "very happy" about the recognition and hoped it will encourage more women to follow her footsteps.

The appointment of the player - known widely as Marta - comes amid worldwide fervor for soccer. In July, she was appointed a goodwill ambassador by UN Women.

Known in Brazil as “Pele in a skirt” in a reference to the soccer icon, Marta is the all-time top scorer of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, and was a member of the Brazilian teams that won silver medals at the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympic Games.

Now 32, she plays for The Orlando Pride in the National Women’s Soccer League in the United States.

According to a 2017 salaries survey by Sporting Intelligence, an online news and data source, elite women athletes on average earn 1 percent of what elite men earn.

No female athletes featured on a ranking of the top 100 highest paid sports stars released by Forbes last month, marking the first year since 2010 that no women made the cut.

She previously served as a goodwill ambassador for UNDP, the United Nations’ anti-poverty arm. Goodwill ambassadors typically promote such issues as gender equality or anti-violence efforts.


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