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Mark Carroll, London Metropolitan University - Barriers to women’s sports participation in Saudi Arabia

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Mark Carroll and Charles Little delivered the presentation at the 2014 Asia Pacific World Sport and Women Conference. …

Mark Carroll and Charles Little delivered the presentation at the 2014 Asia Pacific World Sport and Women Conference.

The 2014 Asia Pacific World Sport and Women Conference discussed the business of women in sport featuring esteemed speakers from a cross-section of backgrounds from grass roots to professional athletes. The APWSW Conference provided attendees practical insights and solutions to attract, engage and retain women in all aspects of sport.

For more information about the event, please visit: http://bit.ly/apwsw14

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  • 1. Barriers to Women’s Sports Participation in Saudi Arabia MMaarrkk CCaarrrroollll aanndd CChhaarrlleess LLiittttllee FFaaccuullttyy ooff BBuussiinneessss aanndd LLaaww LLoonnddoonn MMeettrrooppoolliittaann UUnniivveerrssiittyy
  • 2. MMeetthhooddoollooggyy IInntteerrvviieewwss ((vviiaa SSkkyyppee)) wwiitthh:: 1100 SSaauuddii WWoommeenn 77 SSaauuddii ssppoorrttss aaddmmiinniissttrraattoorrss RReessuullttss wweerree tthheenn ccooddeedd aanndd ssuubbjjeecctteedd ttoo tthheemmaattiicc aannaallyyssiiss..
  • 3. KKeeyy FFiinnddiinnggss Most of the women interviewed did participate in sport or some form of physical activities: Gyms Swimming (in the sea) Badminton Fitness DVD’s in the home
  • 4. KKeeyy BBaarrrriieerrss  Government / Structural  Education  Family  Islamic Interpretation  Culture  Personal
  • 5. GGoovveerrnnmmeenntt//SSttrruuccttuurraall  GOV: Policy  GOV: Fear  GOV: Facilities  GOV: Schools  GOV: Infrastructure  GOV: Politics  GOV: Women’s Rights
  • 6. PPoolliiccyy “The government needs to change the laws and also open many facilities for women’s sports. They have bad attitude. I was trying to open my own gym in Jeddah and I was asked to get a license from the Ministry of Health and I got disappointed when they told me I can’t open a gym unless it is under a hospital or a physiotherapy license” – Respondent 5
  • 7. FFaacciilliittiieess “I would also like to play sports with my friends but we don’t have anywhere we can go other than the gym.” – Respondent 4 “I really like to swim, but this is very difficult to do here, as there are no pools for women and swimming in the sea annoys me.” – Respondent 4
  • 8. EEdduuccaattiioonn “While in school, we did not have any access to sports or activities. We used to have one class sport per week. We used to do silly sports that I can’t even remember like jumping for example. Most of the times we used to sit and talk and do nothing!” – Respondent 2
  • 9. FFaammiillyy “My father would not allow me to play sports even if I wanted to, as I had to focus on my studies always.” - Respondent 1 “My father always encourages me to be fit and do sports.” – Respondent 5
  • 10. FFaammiillyy “My parents always tell me it is good for me to be healthy and my father he pays for the gym for me. I’m not sure though if he would be ok if I was playing sports like football, maybe he would not like this.” - Respondent 8
  • 11. IIssllaamm “Islam encourages women to be actively engaged in life, and many times in the Koran it says that sports are good for you and that you should take care of your body.”- Respondent 6 “I have no issue with the Hijab. One of my friends plays basketball in Jeddah and she can play easily while wearing this.” – Respondent 3
  • 12. CCuullttuurree “Saudi interpretation of Islam, not Islam is what impacts it. Simply put, sports for women is frowned upon.” – Sports Professional 3. “I think religion prevents women from doing sports, I think the way our culture treats women because of our religion is the biggest problem.” – Respondent 7
  • 13. PPeerrssoonnaall FFaaccttoorrss  PER: Time  PER: Cost  PER: Travel  PER: Knowledge  PER: Fear
  • 14. TTiimmee “With work and my things to do at home, I just don’t have enough time to do more, I think I would like to try some other sports, but it’s hard to find the time.” – Respondent 6 “My main challenge now is that I’m doing my master Trainer Certification and finish my degree in English Literature. They both take up much time.” – Respondent 5
  • 15. CCoosstt “Now though there are many gyms opening like Curves, were women can attend, but I know from friends that these gyms are very expensive to join.” Respondent 1 “Yes, there are more and more gyms opening all the time, though they are too expensive.” – Respondent 4
  • 16. TTrraavveell “Having a driver to take me to the gym was the main challenge in Saudi Arabia since women are not allowed to drive!” – Respondent 2