Factor Affecting Young Girls Participation in Sports: Narratives from Young Women in Islamabad, Pakistan

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Dr. Hazir Ullah
Raza Ullah


This study examines a neglected aspect of gender equality debate-what factors influence young girls' participation in sports. It examines the social, cultural, and institutional factors that discourage young girls' participation in sports and physical activities. The data for the study comes from 11 rural and 12 urban young women who were studying in two public sector co-education universities of Islamabad, Pakistan. The overall sample size of 23 young women (aged 19-25 years) was obtained by employing the theoretical sampling technique. In-depth qualitative interviews, using interview guides, were conducted with respondents. Thematic analysis was carried out for identifying patterns and themes from the data. The overall conclusion that we reach from the study findings is: lack of adequate playing facilities in educational institutions as well as at the community level makes it difficult for young girls to engage in sports and physical activities. The study findings also suggest that cultural discourses, i.e., women's engagement in sports make them less feminine which in turn reduces their potentiality for marriage, are among the key barriers that discourage young women's participation in sports. Similarly, purda (veiling women from men's gaze or keeping them invisible in the public space) limits young girls' participation in sports to indoor games. Thus, girls reproduce a traditional dominant form of femininity through their choice of and participation in selected sports and physical activities

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