Social inclusion through sport for women experiencing homelessness
Journal of Social Inclusion
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© 2020, Griffith University. All rights reserved. Background: People experiencing homelessness have been described as one of the most socially excluded groups, particularly homeless women. Exploring the barriers and facilitators of social inclusion for women experiencing homelessness, in particular their experience with sports-based activities, may identify key criteria to improve and facilitate their access to community activities and result in opportunities for increased inclusion. Methods: Qualitative thematic analysis was used to explore women’s homelessness, social inclusion, and their interest and engagement in sportbased activities. In a mid-sized city in Canada, data was collected using semistructured interviews with eleven women residing in a shelter. The data were analyzed for themes relating to the research questions. Four corresponding themes were derived from the interviews: (a) poverty is the main source of social exclusion, (b) housing is not necessarily a prerequisite for social inclusion, (c) women play sports too; it’s not just for men, and (d) Purposeful rather than passive recruitment boosts inclusion. These themes represent the barriers and facilitators of social inclusion that the participants experienced, as well as their experiences and interests in sports. Conclusion: The findings revealed that while women who are experiencing homelessness may be interested in participating in sport activities as an opportunity to improve aspects of their social inclusion, they face many barriers in accessing sport activities. The findings of this study may inform organizational and government policy, and future research. Further intersectional research is needed to understand how gendered experiences of homelessness intersect for Indigenous or racialized persons.