Brazilian football star, Marta, champions women’s empowerment

Jun 27, 2011

New York — As this year’s FIFA Women's World Cup starts in Germany, Brazilian football star, Marta Vieira da Silva, is delivering the message that we all win when women play leading roles not only on the pitch but also in families, schools and the workplace.

Vieira da Silva, known to her fans as Marta, is a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and part of an international campaign mounting around the world’s top women's football event taking place June 26 to July 17 in cities across Germany.

The UNDP campaign aims to raise awareness and support for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight internationally agreed targets set 10 years ago and aimed at reducing poverty, hunger, maternal and child deaths, disease, inadequate shelter, gender inequality and environmental degradation by 2015.

Despite high profile advances, women still make up only 19 percent of legislators and less than 10 percent of world leaders. They continue to earn less than men when they do the same work and, in many countries, have unequal access to land and inheritance rights.

“The strength, industry and wisdom of women remain humanity’s greatest untapped resource,” says Marta in an advertisement delivered in international media. “Only through women’s full and equal participation in public and private life can we hope to break poverty cycles and achieve the MDGs.”

Marta, winner of FIFA’s annual Women’s World Player award for the five years between 2006 and 2010, will also reach out to individuals and communities around the world through UNDP Twitter and Facebook networks to call for advances in women’s empowerment.

Born and raised in a poor neighborhood of a town near Dois Riachos, Brazil, Marta was appointed a UNDP goodwill ambassador in October 2010 to promote the MDGs with a special emphasis on the gender dimension of poverty.

She joined an elite group of UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors, which includes soccer stars Ronaldo, Zidane and Didier Drogba, Japanese actress Misako Konno, Crown Prince Haakon Magnus of Norway, Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova and Spanish actor Antonio Banderas.

Contact information

Geneva: Aziyadé Poltier-Mutal, Tel: +41 22 917 83 68, cell: +41 79 349 16 10,

New York: Sausan Ghosheh, Tel: +1 212 906 5390,

UNDP Around the world