UBC Undergraduate Research

Barriers of Women’s Participation in Intramurals Cheng, Rogan; Cho, Jacob; Madill, Chris; Ng, Katie; Zhen, Suzanne


Although there are many positive benefits in participating in intramural sports, there seems to be a lack of participation and commitment for women in comparison to men. Exploring women’s opinions and feelings towards intramural sports may help us to understand what certain barriers may restrict their participation and factors that may increase their participation. Therefore, the purpose of this research was to investigate the barriers of women’s participation in intramurals, specifically third and fourth-year female students at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Men were included in the research to determine any significant differences between the two genders. Through an online survey, data was collected from 57 participants including 38 women, 17 men and 2 who preferred not to answer. The survey consisted of a Likert Scale based upon their opinions on intramurals, as well as including open-ended questions for any participants that wanted to provide their feedback. Results showed that the participants acknowledged the health benefits that intramurals sport offer. However, barriers such as social support, competency, time constraints, and promotional awareness seem to be the most effective in their participation. To our surprise, a new barrier has been discovered within our research that the mode of transportation also contributed to their decision of joining intramural sports. Furthermore, it appears that the number of women or men within an intramural team did not have a significant impact on influencing women’s choice of participating. From our open-ended questions, participants provided recommendations on how to increase the participation of women in intramurals. There were a few that suggested there should be more effective promotion strategies to the student population, especially to the female students. Additionally, implementing a fix-hour within certain days of the week for students or even providing prizes for those who participate in intramurals could be beneficial in increasing the rates of women participating. Moving forward, further research should focus primarily on women, as well as expanding the sample size to get more variety of opinions, answers, and suggestions. Considering that there are many international students and students from other institutions that transfer to UBC in their third and fourth years, these should be examined in further research to gain a better understanding if transferring to a new institution can be a potential barrier. The exploration of the barriers and motivation of participants at UBC who took part in this study will help in future research and increase knowledge around women's participation in intramural sports and expand programming resources to help create new recreation programs. With these suggestions, this could help to find different avenues to increase women’s participation in intramurals in the future for UBC and other institutions. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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