Muslim women in sport: ‘Slow progress’ on removing barriers

There has been “slow progress” in breaking down the “barriers and challenges” for Muslim women taking part in sport, says a new report.

The report published by England’s largest Muslim women’s sports charity, Muslimah Sports Association (MSA), found 97% of British Muslim women surveyed wanted to increase their current participation in sports – yet 37% are not involved in any sports or activities.

The research was carried out to identify the demand across the country for Muslim female participation in sport, and to explore the under-representation of Muslim women in sports and to what barriers they are facing.

The report says sport participation can help to break down stereotypes and misconceptions about Muslim women.

Yashmin Harun, chair and founder of MSA, said: “The impact of the pandemic and successive lockdowns was clear. It was evident physical activity levels and the general wellbeing of women from diverse backgrounds had suffered.

“The research demonstrates that progress has been slow. The barriers and challenges Muslim females face are still very much the same from reports conducted 15 years ago.

“Quite often Muslim women are left on the fringes of conversations when we talk about sports for all. The research identifies there is a huge demand for Muslim women wanting to be more active but accessibility and opportunities are rare and safe spaces are not provided.”

The Muslim Women in Sport report found:

  • While 80% participate in sports activities ‘casually’, that falls to 9% at a ‘competitive’ level.
  • 43% of Muslim women do not think current sports facilities are appropriate to them.
  • 33% say previous experiences have negatively impacted their participation in sport.


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