Young Muslin Women Participating in School Sport

Huma Kanwal, Robyn JORGENSEN

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contributionpeer-review


This paper explores the participation of Muslim girls in Health, Physical Education (HPE) and Sports in Brisbane Muslim and non-Muslim schools. The debate of Muslim women’s’ participation in sports is strongly entwined with firmly held beliefs inherited through culture, religion, politics and tradition regarding the female body. Specifically, this study examines how Muslim female students interpret their participation in HPE and other school sporting activities. Muslim women experience certain difficulties, including undertaking strenuous exercise during the fasting month of Ramadan, mixed-gender participation and problematic dress codes. Additionally, because of reasons of religious and cultural ethnicity, they could confront certain constrictions in extracurricular activities. This paper seeks to develop an understanding of the importance of HPE and other sporting activities in the lives of Muslim girls accompanied by the views of parents and teachers; informed by in-depth, open-ended and semi-structured interviews with Muslim girls, their parents and teachers from Muslim and non-Muslim schools of Brisbane. Essentially, this paper presents the views of high school girls about their own involvement in HPE and other sporting activities. A phenomenological approach is adopted and the data is analysed using the Grounded Theory approach. Some of the findings of this study reveal that Muslim girls who attended the non-Muslim schools, in general are struggling between the cultural and religious limitations when it comes to their participation in sporting activities. The schools are making efforts to accommodate the needs of Muslim students but appear to be constrained by views of Muslim modesty impacting on their capacity to undertake many of the activities associated with HPE/Sport. However, this study reveals that the Muslim girls in Islamic schools are interested in participating in sport. Indeed, female students and their parents are very happy with their participation and encourage it. The insights gained from this study contribute to fostering a better understanding of the challenges Muslim girls face when it comes to their participation in HPE/Sport. Furthermore, it could also assist school leaders to make changes in educational settings, so as to enable Muslim girls to participate in HPE/Sport.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe 2014 International Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) and New Zealand Association for Research in Education (NZARE): Speaking Back Through Research
EditorsMargaret Baguley
Place of PublicationOnline
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventJoint AARE & NZARE Conference - Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 30 Nov 20144 Dec 2014


ConferenceJoint AARE & NZARE Conference


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