Young women’s engagement with sport in Lusaka secondary schools, Zambia

Musangeya, Elaya E (2016) Young women’s engagement with sport in Lusaka secondary schools, Zambia. Doctoral thesis (EdD), University of Sussex.

[img] PDF - Published Version
Download (1MB)


This thesis reports on an investigation into the sport experiences and views of a sample of young women in two High Schools in Lusaka, Zambia. The purpose of the study was to gain an understanding of the sports played by young women, their reasons for playing the sports, the benefits they gained, and how they navigated and negotiated the barriers they faced. The study was framed by looking at the intersections and interactions of four key ideas – sport, education, gender, and development. Significantly the study was set in the context of the United Nations’ declarations of sport as a human right and the global policy position of using sport as a tool for development, gender equality and empowerment of young women. Thirty-six young females from Grades 10 and 11, identified through snowball sampling, participated in the interpretive phenomenological research. Data was collected mainly through six focus groups, thirty-six semi-structured interviews and field observations.

The findings show that young women played team sports in schools’ extracurricular programmes historically and culturally dominated by men and characterized by gender issues around participation. Interestingly the same young women also took part in after school activities organized by Non-Governmental Organizations that disseminated HIV/AIDS information and addressed gender equality issue through sports. Using young women’s voices, the thesis details their personal and social reasons for playing traditionally male sports. It also details the personal, social, health-related and economic benefits they experienced, and, as active agents, how they navigated and negotiated gendered barriers associated with the notion of sport, access to playing space and resources, and regulation of their behaviour in doing sport. There was, however, no evidence from the young women to suggest that playing male sports or sport for development interventions contributed to gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The thesis underlines the importance of listening to young women about what sports they want to play, the social support they need from peers, friends and family and especially males, and that sport for development interventions may have potential in facilitating young women’s participation or in reducing the gender-based barriers women face. The thesis highlights limitations of the study and suggests important directions for future research.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC1390 Education of special classes of persons > LC1401 Women. Girls
L Education > LG Individual institutions (Asia. Africa. Oceania) > LG401 Africa > LG469 Zambia
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2016 15:49
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2016 15:49

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update