Muslim Women in Sport

The world of sport is male dominated and women often come up against considerable challenges.

In this fact sheet we address those issues faced by Muslim women and consider what their religion says
about participation.

For many Muslim women religious beliefs and values give meaning to the ways in which they structure and approach their life. Islam is a fundamental aspect of their identity and their approach to sport is often determined by religious, cultural and ethnic factors. In general, Islam promotes good health and fitness and encourages both men and women to engage in physical activity to maintain healthy lifestyles. However, there are aspects of the religion which affect how sports can be practised, for example; women following their faith cannot engage in mixed gender sports and the environment and dress code also requires consideration. 

Due to religious misinterpretations or simply a lack of awareness, many Muslim women have been prevented or not felt able to participate in sports. For many, apprehension about taking part stems from a fear of discrimination or of facing negative attitudes from service providers in relation to their religious and cultural needs.

Source: Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation and Sporting Equals.


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