INFLUENCE OF SOCIO CULTURAL FACTORS AFFECTING FEMALE PARTICIPATION IN SPORTS IN NIGERIA

ABSTRACT

Women participation in sports has been a controversial issue all over the world and Nigeria is not an exception. This study examined the socio-cultural factors influencing women participation in sports in Delta Central Senatorial District. The descriptive survey design was used while simple random sampling technique was used to select a sample size of one hundred and seventy seven (177) respondents comprised of female athletes in Delta Central Senatorial District which covered eight (8) local governments. A self-structured questionnaire was employed in collecting data from the respondents while one hundred and forty eight (148) administered questionnaires were completely retrieved. Simple percentage, frequency count and mean score as well as Chi-square (x2) were statistical tool used at 0.05 alpha level of significance. Results obtained from this study revealed that physiological markup, Cultural beliefs, Social inclusion, Family background and Religion are factors that significantly influence women participation in sports in Delta Central Senatorial District. Hence, it recommended that religious institutions and societal organizations should frequently organize conferences, symposium and workshops with a view of promoting the inclusiveness and active participation of women in sports across the study area.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background to the Study
Sport is an integral part of physical education which involves training of the mind and body through physical activities. It involves all form of physical activity which, through casual or organized participation, aim at expressing or improving physical fitness and mental well-being, forming social relationships or obtaining results in competition at all levels. Hence, the maintenance of physically active leisure-oriented lifestyles has become increasingly important in developed societies (Van Deventer, 1998). Involvement in sport and other sport related activities is significant as it leads to competence in the physical world of sport and can also extend to the real life situation (Grahn and Stigsdotter, 2003). Consequently, it offers important opportunities to enhance health and wellbeing as well as cultivate cultural diversity and promote social inclusion (Taylor and Doherty, 2005).
Women play an important role in society as procreators of the coming generation, as well as producers of goods and services. In the modern economies they are playing an important role in the labour force. However, in many Nigerian communities, traditional perceptions of women as inferior to men continue to prevail as many people invoke the preservation of African culture to justify the subordination of women. As a result, men usually dominate women in the political, religious, economic, academic and domestic spheres (Ashrafy, 2005). Women participation in sport has come a long way. Women’s participation entails the provision of equal opportunity to women to take part in sports activity. It implies quantitative and qualitative participation of women in sports. Efforts have been and are being made in getting more females to participate in sports. However, a lot more effort is still required to generate greater female participation in the world of sport (LeUnes& Nation, 2002). 
Women’s participation in sports is much under the influence of defined gender roles as it has encountered many problems from the beginning. The thing that is important in entrance of men and women in sport is the entrance to a sport which is not traditionally defined with discrimination in favour of one sex. Cultural race and social class are both of important factors in the experiences of men and women discrimination in sport (Eftekhary, 2000). For women, one of the biggest barriers associated with levels of activity is the perception that physical activity is unfeminine. This is apparent in the gender imbalance evident across the higher levels of the sporting industry, the media portrayal of sporting activity and the formative experiences of many women (WHO, 2010). Thus, today, one of the important and remarkable things in international community is maintaining and observing the rights of women and equality between men and women and gender discrimination.
Socio-cultural barriers refer to the specific social and cultural limitation, practices, beliefs and traditions within a community or society which might encourage or discourage physical activity. Women are observed to be poorly represented in sports as players, coaches, advisers and as team administrators. For instance, many Muslim women due to the aspects of their religion rules on mixed gender sports and dress code requirements have either prevented or given the impression of preventing participation. Socio-cultural barriers might occur in the other direction. Again, drawing on the example of Muslim Women, service providers might hold negative attitudes relating to the specific cultural and religious needs of Muslim Women (Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation, 2010).
The emergence of women in sports is largely a twentieth century phenomenon. Infact women made their first appearance in the Olympics in the 1900 (Bucher&Krotee, 2002). Even when the Olympics were revived, women were not allowed to participate. The males have offered varied rationalizations for subordinating women and much of it has rested upon the dubious assumptions of women’s inherent weakness. The notion that women have been conditioned to be what they are often is deeply rooted in the prejudicial social pattern of different cultures in Nigeria. Women through the ages have always been viewed to be made of milk and honey.  Consequently, in keeping with this metaphor, a feminine picture of a woman was conjured up which seems to militate against females doing anything too physical.

Statement of the Problem
Women participation in sports has been a controversial issue all over the world and Nigeria is not an exception. Involvement in sports has taken a new turn in which those who engaged in sports have various reasons for participation. In the olden days, the reasons for participation in sports was for the sole purpose of survival but in the world today, those who engage in sports have various intrinsic and extrinsic motivation such as financial, satisfaction, social, psychological, and fulfillment. Although, there are no laws, which stated that women should not engage in sporting activities but there are societal expectations, which hinder them from doing so. These societal beliefs are strong to prevent women from venturing into areas believed to be for men only (Okonkwor, 2007 and Adeyanju, 2009).
Previous researchers have observed that women are poorly represented in sports as players, coaches, advisers and as team administrators. The under-representation of women in sports remains an issue of national concern. According to Adeyanju (2009), observation of who is actively involved in sports in Nigeria generally indicated that males constitute the greatest number either as players, coaches and administrators. This is an indication that though there had been transformations in women’s sports in Nigeria, great changes are yet to be observed. In essence women participation in sports in Nigeria is not yet adequate. Babatunde, (2001) and Okonkwor, (2007), found that culture and tradition, age, gender, ordinal, religion, position, parents, as significant socio-cultural factors which influence female participation in sports. It seems that some women are still under the influence of the long existing culture. It is against this background this pertinent question is raised. What are the socio-cultural factors influencing women participation sports in Delta Central Senatorial District?

Objective of the Study
            The main objective of this study is to examine the socio-cultural factors influencing women participation in sports in Delta Central Senatorial District. Specifically this study aims at ascertaining if:
i.                    Physiological markup is a factor influencing women participation in sports in Delta Central Senatorial District.
ii.                 Cultural belief is a factor influencing women participation in sports in Delta Central Senatorial District.
iii.               Social factor is a factorinfluencing women participation in sports in Delta Central Senatorial District.
iv.               Family background is a factor influencing women participation in sports in Delta Central Senatorial District.
v.                  Religion influence is a factor influencing women participation in sports Delta Central Senatorial District.

Research Questions
The following research questions guided the study;
i.           To what extent doesphysiological markup as a factor influences women participation in sports in Delta Central Senatorial District?
ii.        To what extent does cultural belief as a factor influenceswomen participation in sports in Delta Central Senatorial District?
iii.      To what extent does social factor influences women participation in sports in Delta Central Senatorial District?
iv.      To what extent does family background as a factor influences women participation in sports in Delta Central Senatorial District?
v.         To what extent does religion influence as a factor influenceswomen participation in sports Delta Central Senatorial District?

Research Hypotheses
The following null hypotheses which were tested at 0.05 level of significance were formulated to guide the study;
     i.        Physiological markup will not significantly influence women participation in sports in Delta Central Senatorial District?
     ii.     Cultural beliefs will not significantly influencewomen participation in sports in Delta Central Senatorial District
     iii.   Social inclusion will not significantly influence women participation in sports in Delta Central Senatorial District
      iv.   Family background will not significantly influence women participation in sports in Delta Central Senatorial District
     v.      Religion will not significantly influence women participation in sports Delta Central Senatorial District

Significance of the Study
This study will create awareness of the socio-cultural influence of women participation in sports. Hopefully this will help the government plan for the improvement of women participation in sports.
This study will contain useful information, which will help sports club to be aware of the various socio-cultural barriers influencing women’s participation in sports and to put adequate measures that will help in nurturing women interest in sports and eventually have more Nigerian women (especially women from the Delta Central Senatorial District) representing Delta State and the country at an international level.
The results of this study will be useful to policy makers in formulating adequate policies that will help promote women’s participation in sports in the Delta Central Senatorial District and Nigeria in general to meet international standard. It was hoped that the research might lead to rethinking of ways of policy implementation by policy makers thus improve policy formulation and implementation processes.
Furthermore, it is hoped that this study will be use to athletes in changing their negative attitudes as regarding religious belief and family background discriminating women’s participation in sports. It will be useful to sports spectators and coaches in acknowledging the socio-cultural barriers relating to women’s participation in sports while helping them to eliminate the possible implication of this incidence in sports.
It is expected that the results of this study will provide vital and useful information to sports managers and administrators in sports organizations by providing techniques for sports administration and management that will value women’s participation in Nigerian sports while ensuring that domination and discriminations of women do not prevail in sports especially as pertains to rewarding and motivating the female athletes.
Finally, this study will be relevant to students and lecturers in the department of Physical and Health Education and other sports related departments in institutions of higher learning in Nigeria who can embark on further research on socio-cultural influence of women participation in sports, in other setting.

Scope/Delimitation of the Study

The study investigated the socio-cultural influence of women participation in sports using Delta Central Senatorial District as a case study. There are eight (8) local governments in Delta Central Senatorial Districts namely: Ethiope West, Sapele, Okpe, Ethiope East, Uvwie, Ughelli North, Udu and Ughelli South respectively.  The independent variables are sports physiological makeup, cultural beliefs, social factors, religious factors and family background while the dependent variable is women participation.

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Item Type: Project Material  |  Attribute: 67 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: N3,000  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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