The Status of Muslim Women in Sport: Conflict between Cultural Tradition and Modernization

Leila Sfeir
Department of Sociology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 702 S. Wright Street, Urbana, ILL 61801, U.S.A.
Published data on Muslim women's participation in sport in 29 predominantly Islamic countries and personal observations in Middle East sport were used. The situation varies from country to country, from rural to urban areas, and depends on impact of Islamic resurgence, secularism, nationalism, Westernization and socialism. Physical education is officially compulsory in schools but, partly due to traditional attitudes and lack of facilities for segregation of the sexes, often neglected in practice. If at all, women are prepared for teaching of rather than for active participation in sport. The original teachings of Islam, actually favoring physical and spiritual development of both sexes, were overshadowed by other restrictive cultural influences. A change is taking place, but very slowly.
For full article, please refer to: http://irs.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/20/4/283