The third GCC Women’s Games ended on Wednesday 13th of March with Bahrain coming out on top. Given this focus on women’s sports we wanted to understand how Lab participants felt about women participating in sports and the sporting opportunities available for women in the region.
Most Lab participants say that they support women’s participation in sport activities. Reasons given for supporting female participation include:
“Sports activities for Women can help them to increase their knowledge about health” Muhammad Athar Shah, Pakistan
“Everyone should participate in sports, regardless of gender, religion, age, race, etc.” Juliette, UAE
“Women deserve as much chance as men are given in sports activities because of the zeal, morale and competitiveness they have shown in the past showing us they can be as competitive as men” Alpha, UAE
“Women are equal to men and should have equal right to participation” Anon
“They need equal opportunities and level playing ground to compete” Anon
Despite this, more disagree than agree that males and females have equal opportunities to take part in sporting activities in their country of residence. Interestingly more males than females disagreed with this. Reasons why Lab participants felt that women do not have equal opportunities include:
“Our country has very limited opportunities in terms of sports” Saad, Pakistan
“I think there is still some taboo on the issue of women being equal as men in some areas. This is slowly being overcome, but I still think many men would rather see women keeping the house and raising children as opposed to being professional athletes” Juliette, UAE
“Most of the women are only allowed to participate indoor games” Irfan, Pakistan
“Not many opportunities exist for females and there is a general lack of support from the government and related agencies” Anon
The majority of Lab participants disagreed that females participating in sports is not part of their culture although over 4 in 10 agree. Interestingly, most agree that it is more acceptable for females to participate in sports on an amateur level than it is for them to participate in professional sport.
Most believe that people are not as interested in watching females participate in sports as they are with males; more women than men agreed with this. This low engagement was also expressed in the low proportion that stated they would be watching the GCC Women’s games.