Who Gets to Play? Role of Gender in Taking up Professional Sports in Pakistan.

Friday, 20 July 2018: 10:30
Oral Presentation
Azeema VOGELER, Center for Communication Programs, Pakistan
Youth constitute more than a third of the population of Pakistan which is a country of more than 200 million. Apart of looking at youth’s schooling and work, it is also important to study what they do for leisure including sports and games. These activities are not just important for their physical and psychological health but also bolsters their social skills, improves learning capacity and protects them from various risky activities. Despite knowledge of these important outcomes through sports, access and participation of youth remains limited due to various reasons, ranging lack of resources, opportunities, facilities, societal views on sports and security concerns.

In Pakistan, participation of females in sports, especially in formal and structured ones are extremely limited as facilities and opportunities are limited. Hence, only those young girls who in an educational setup report involved in sports. However, since girls’ participation in education is increasing, their chances of being part of sports is also rising. Moreover, with increasing modernization and westernization culture and aspiration is also changing. Now, at least in larger cities of Pakistan, females are taking up sports professionally. Pakistan has professional sportswomen and teams for major games such as football, cricket, hockey, squash, boxing etc. However many of them have to strive to make it on their own to reach international arena as there is little support from community and government.

There are plethora of factors which impacts women’s participation in games and professional sports. The aim of this research is to explore these issues from different angels.

Data for this paper will be drawn from interviews of female university students who are part of formal sports teams and also coaches and sports officials. The interviews will explore the social, cultural, financial, and other factors that create barriers or facilitate women’s participation in sports.