Building cultural inclusion in active recreation and sport

Insights from Muslim women

This report highlights key themes that emerged from conversations with Muslim girls and women, and active recreation and sport administrators in 2019. It aims to recognise the importance of creating spaces for the voices and experiences of Muslim women, as well as those involved in organising active recreation and sport with Muslim women participants. 

The first piece of research for this report was completed by Dr Nida Ahmad and Professor Holly Thorpe at the University of Waikato in collaboration with researchers at Sport Waikato and Sport New Zealand. The second was completed by Haidee Scott from Perception in collaboration with Sport Canterbury, Christchurch City Council, Canterbury Cricket and Mainland Football.

Ngā mihi nui ki a koe to the 106 individuals from Aotearoa New Zealand’s Muslim communities and sport sectors who shared their lived experiences and knowledge.
Jazākom Allāhu Khayran, mihi koe koutou katoa.

Focus group key takeaways:
  • Muslim women are a diverse group and we need to begin by questioning our assumptions and stereotypes about their motivations and opportunities to participate in sport and recreation.
  • Muslim women face many barriers in participating in sport, but the biggest barrier is the attitudes and understandings of the sector.
  • Cultural education is needed throughout the sector from the top of sports organizations to the grassroots.
  • Creating ‘safe’ spaces for Muslim women in sport and recreation shouldn’t be put in the ‘too hard’ basket. Small gestures can go a long way in making Muslim women feel welcome and accepted. Spaces/activities that consider or accommodate Muslim women and girls also create a safe and engaging space for a much more diverse range of people.
  • Muslim women have important skills and knowledge to share, but we need to provide opportunities to listen and learn from them.
  • Cross-cultural collaborations are essential for moving towards best practice.

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