Sometimes religion is used by conservative societies and institutions to prevent females from participating in sport. These religious groups within society misinterpret or use fanatical texts to demonstrate sport as inappropriate for girls. This often shames families whose daughters play or scares families into barring their daughters from playing out of fear of religious authorities. The reality is that although many religions do dictate appropriate clothing for sport or appropriate spaces, very few, if any, bar girls from playing and participating in sport. In fact, many religions promote sport as a tool for well-being.
- Approach the religious community in your area and present to them the benefits of sport on the mind and body, while showing them that your organisation abides by all rules regarding acceptable clothing, or any other culturally or religiously relevant rules, such as separation of women and men. Making sure religious leaders are fully aware of what you are doing helps reduce fears, anxieties and misunderstanding that might exist.
- Ask religious leaders on board with your programme to help educate parents that religion does not forbid sport. Hold a community meeting in which you invite parents as well as these religious leaders.
For more information on how to engage religions leaders, go to the Community Engagement section of this guide.