UBC Undergraduate Research

UBC Intramurals : Identifying and Assessing Barriers Limiting Female Participation Rates Guan, May; Huang, Grace; Lim, Jennifer; Pham, Jessica; Wong, Jennifer


The objective of our study, UBC Intramurals: Identifying and Assessing Barriers Limiting Female Participation Rates, was to identify key barriers influencing the decline in women’s participation in UBC Intramurals and develop recommendations for UBC Athletics and Recreation (UBC Rec). Recommendations will aim to reduce barriers and facilitate female participation in their Intramurals leagues. Through previous literature, psychosocial, physical, and environmental barriers to participation in intramurals were identified. These barriers, including social media, body image, self-esteem, perceived fitness level, past sports experience, and the accessibility and convenience of intramurals programs, were then used as a guide when creating our online survey questions. Our online survey was created using an online software tool called Qualtrics. The survey was used to collect responses from female UBC students regarding their perceived barriers to participation and allowed participants to provide feedback or recommendations to improve UBC Intramurals. The survey consisted of 23 questions with two open-ended and optional questions. Participants were recruited using social media by sending a survey link through word-of-mouth on Facebook Messenger and creating posts on UBC Facebook groups. Ninety-two participants were recruited, and their responses were recorded during the two-week data collection period. Of the 92 participants, 76% were commuter students and 24% were non-commuters. In addition, 84% of the participants were not currently participating in UBC Intramurals. Qualtrics was then used to conduct a descriptive analysis of the multiple-choice responses and Microsoft Excel was used to conduct a content analysis on the open-ended responses, which were organized into themes. From the analysis of our findings, the most common reasons for not participating included self-esteem, specifically participants’ perception of their ability to appear confident or successful in the skills required, and the convenience and accessibility of UBC Intramurals. Furthermore, three main themes were identified as improvements that participants wanted UBC Rec to implement into Intramurals leagues. This included better access to information regarding UBC Intramurals leagues, more consistent league schedules and game times, and the creation of more opportunities for students with different needs, including more gender-specific and just for fun leagues. Five recommendations were created for UBC Rec to implement into their current Intramurals programs. The first recommendation is to improve the awareness and access to information regarding UBC Intramurals leagues by incorporating female student advocates and using different methods of promotion. The second recommendation focuses on the creation of a female hat league, allowing for a smaller group of students to sign up during registration and allowing female students to learn from other players and improve their self-confidence in their ability to perform the required skills. The third recommendation focuses on having consistent times offered for the Intramurals games, which will help reduce the variability of schedules and help female students better manage their schedules. The fourth recommendation involves increasing the number of sports and the variety of tiers offered within the UBC Intramurals leagues. The last recommendation relates to the direction of future research, specifically using a mixed-methods study on a larger sample. 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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