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Original Research Articles

Intersections of Disability and Gender in Sports: Experiences of Indian Female Athletes

Authors:

Nainika Seth,

Lady Shriram College for Women, University of Delhi, New Delhi, IN
About Nainika

Nainka Seth completed her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Lady Shri Ram College For Women, University of Delhi in 2018 and went on to obtain a Masters of Science in Sport and Exercise Psychology at Loughborough University, United Kingdom in 2019. Over the years she has developed a keen interest in qualitative research focusing primarily in sport psychology and organisational behaviour. Currently she is working towards applying principles of psychology to improve performance and well being in the above spheres.

 

 

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Megha Dhillon

Lady Shriram College for Women, University of Delhi, New Delhi, IN
About Megha

Dr. Megha Dhillon is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Lady Shri Ram College For Women, University of Delhi. She has been teaching psychology for the past 10 years and her areas of interest include Disability, Body Image, Social Psychology and Health Psychology. Her research work seeks to address social justice issues within Indian society. She is also engaged in voluntary work with non-governmental organizations focusing on the development and education of youth from low-income families.

 

 
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Abstract

Purpose: This qualitative study aimed to compare the experiences of two groups of female athletes - those with and without visual disability- who participate in sports.

Method: In-depth interviews were conducted with 16 athletes and thematic analysis of the data was done.

Results: Both groups identified various benefits of engaging in sports, including increased fitness and higher self-esteem. Para-athletes felt that sports provided them with opportunities to break stereotypes associated with disability. Both groups also identified certain barriers impeding sports participation, the most pervasive of these being poor infrastructure. In terms of differences, athletes without disability were initiated into sports at a much earlier age, had enjoyed more freedom in choosing their sport, and were given more family support than the para-athletes.

Conclusion: An analysis of the findings in terms of the Self-Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan, 2002) indicated that needs for competence, autonomy and relatedness were being more wholly met through sports-related experiences for athletes without disability than for the para-athletes.

Implications: Current conditions within para-sport need to be improved by providing more sporting choices to athletes with disability, easier access to sports opportunities at an earlier age, development of self-efficacy with regard to sports, challenging of stereotypes, and generating awareness among parents that sports can be a viable and safe option for their daughters.

How to Cite: Seth, N. and Dhillon, M., 2020. Intersections of Disability and Gender in Sports: Experiences of Indian Female Athletes. Disability, CBR & Inclusive Development, 30(3), pp.65–81. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5463/dcid.v30i3.857
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Published on 27 Jan 2020.

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