SPort, gender, and ethnicity. The case of immigrant women

Gertrud Pfister

Original Language

Cite this article

Pfister, G. (2004). Sport, gender, and ethnicity. The case of immigrant women. Apunts. Educación Física y Deportes, 78, 117-124.




This contribution focuses on the role of sporting activities in the lives of immigrants with an Islamic background. A special emphasis is laid on the chances and problems which female immigrants face in Western countries in their everyday life as well as in their physical activities. Using Germany as example, the sport engagement of immigrants is analysed and interpreted in connection with their religious believes and their conditions of life. In the second part of this contribution, reasons for sport engagement or sport abstinence of immigrants are presented and discussed in the context of theoretical approaches. The interdependencies of gender, sport and ethnicity are interpreted from the perspective of cultural studies. In addition, constructivist theories as well as the approaches of Norbert Elias and Pierre Bourdieu are used to explain orientations, attitudes and behaviour patterns of immigrants. It has been taken into consideration, that the situation of immigrants varies to a great extent and that they use numerous and various strategies in order to “function” in the mainstream society. This is illustrated by several case studies of girls and their sport engagement. This article ends with a discussion of possibilities and strategies to increase the sport engagement of girls and women with an immigrant background.

Keywords: Cultural Studie, Ethnicity, Gender, Immigrants, Islam, Sport Engagement.

ISSN: 1577-4015

Published: October 01, 2004