CHAPTER ONE - University of Education, Winneba

Background to the Study
Physical education and sport have over the years provided the avenue for the
exhibition of talents in various sports and games for students in various senior
high schools in
Greater Accra Region and Ghana as a whole. Sport is an
important part of every society. This is based on the fact that participation in
sporting activities brings about a state of physical, emotional, mental, and social
Sociologists have long recognized that sports in the senior high schools are
among the most important social activities sponsored by the Ghana Education
Service and the school authorities. Being a senior high school athlete bring to
a student prestige among peers, formal rewards in the senior high school and
recognition from tutors, administrators
and the local community. Also, most
students participate in sports to have fun, do something they think they are
good at, and improve their skills and fitness.
Some people belief that ‘’Feminism
freedom ; the individual
collective liberty to make decisions. Sports have freed women, and continue to
free women, from restrictive dress, behaviours laws and customs and from the
belief that women cannot or should not achieve or compete or win” like their
other male counterparts. While growing up, sports became a big influence in my life.
There was not a day that I did not go outside and throw either a ball or play tennis
with my peers. In my early years sports to me was going across the street and
gathering a group of friends and playing football (soccer), basketball or the game
loved all youth’s “ kickball”. Nevertheless, growing older the games have not
changed too much, but the level of competition and the ability people played it at.
Throughout school I was always involved in sports in an extra-curricular activity
outside of school as well as just playing games during break time at recess during
school. During the years of 3rd, 4th and 5th grade, the games became even more
competitive. Those were dodge ball, ampe and hop-scotch et, cetera.
The reason those games were in the curriculum was to involve the class as a whole
and to allow the pupils to work together as a team. The physical education teachers
learnt courses like aerobics, basketball, volleyball, soccer, tennis and other team and
individual sports, as embodied in the curriculum. Over the past twenty years a
research has expressed concern over the lack of confidence and qualification of
primary schools teachers who teach physical education. Evidently, the influence of
personal school physical experiences may play an important role in the development
of teachers’ confidence to appropriately teach physical education. Most research that
examined the effects of biographical experiences in physical education on teachers’
confidence to teach physical education have focused on specialists rather than nonspecialist physical education teachers.
In the primary schools the interesting part in their competition is when it is on section
bases. This is the stage where the teachers start picking and identifying the potential
sports boys and girls. It continues in the junior high school, where classes are
sometimes used in the competition, or students are shared equally across board and
given names as houses where competitions are organised for them, in almost all the
sporting activities that the physical education master might have introduced to the
students. These physical education lessons them gave the play back and the reflection
of what the physical education teacher has taught. Unofficial assessment is made at
this time though the physical education teachers are not coaches but their contribution
at that level is considered seriously. Some heads of institution do not make time for
physical education lesson but rely mostly on physical education teacher when it gets
to inter schools sports competition.
The introduction to these basics is carried on to the higher classes. At the senior high
secondary, inter houses competitions are organised by the physical education master
with the assistance of some enthusiastic tutors around. In most cases a selection is
made for students to represent the school in the inter school competition during the
inter house competition. The physical education teacher at this stage performs the
functions of a coach and no more a physical education teacher.
At senior high school for instance one is seen as a physical education teacher who
teaches physical education as a subject but normally engaged in time of need as a
coach and not a physical education master. It is at this stage that the physical
education master tries to convert his teaching experiences to assemble the potential
athletes whom he had ever spotted to make his team.
Physical education teachers work to teach young people sports and fitness techniques,
using organised activities to develop health, knowledge and habits. They work mostly
in private schools, sometimes splitting time between several schools within the same
district. Many physical education teachers also coach sports such as basketball,
soccer, badminton, volleyball, tennis and others. In the end they land all these factors
and experiences to organize physical education lessons other sporting activities at
school level and sports festivals.
Statement of the Problem
Greater Accra Senior High Schools have student population of about four thousand,
seven hundred and eighty of which about forty-five percent are females. In all these
schools physical education is and all students are supposed to seriously partake in
physical education lessons since they are examined and accessed in it. Furthermore
those interested in the competitive sports are further prepared and trained to take part
in intramural and extramural sports competititions. The issue is that schools are zoned
and they compete by schools at zonal and super zonal levels after each schools has
selected students to represent either through inter houses competition or other means.
The final objective is normally to select a regional team to compete for the Greater
Accra Region. The sport council also uses these competitive especially the National
schools and colleges competitions to select athletes who excel into the various teams.
The research work, seeks to find out the role physical education plays in female
participation in sports in the Senior High Schools in the Greater Accra Region
particularly Labone Senior High.
Purpose of the Study
Labone is basically a science school made up of both male and females. The school
also offer other courses like business, arts, home economics and others apart from
technical skills. Physical education is also given attention though it is not examinable,
with the exception of forms three and four when they were doing four year course,
every class take part in physical education lesson. However these two categories of
class participate in other social inter house activities. The school has three physical
education teachers who teach the forms one to two, the teachings include both
practical and theory. They are also blessed with playing grounds in all games with
average quantity of equipment. One can find equal participation of females as well as
male counterpart.
I. The purpose of the study is to really find out how female sports are organised
in Labone SHS.
II. To establish female (girls) attitudes to participation in sport
III. How females are selected into the various teams.
Significance of the Study
Sports is basically meant for both males and females but it has clearly shifted and
become more or less a gendered activity that welcomes more boys than girls in the
quest for the celebrating of skills particularly in Greater Accra senior high schools. It
is hope that the findings of this study will be significant in the areas;
1. It will improve the teaching of physical education in the Greater Accra senior
high schools, including tutors and administrators to identify the needs and
sentiments for females’ participation with regards to sports and athletics.
2. It will help to broaden the knowledge base of the students particularly women
about the benefits of participating in sports.
3. It will help the Greater Accra school authorities to provide appropriate and
convenient facilities to enhance female students participation in sports and
4. It will help the curriculum planners in structuring the programme from the
level which will in turn yield and produce better and useful sports women in
5. For other researchers who would want to research in this area. It will provide
the basis for their research work.
Research Questions
1. To what extent does female students’ participation in physical education lessons
influence their participation in sports?
2. To what extent do females (girls) participate in sports?
3. How are females (girls) selected for sports competitions?
Limitation of the Study
The study may be limited to the following;
a) Since all female students from Greater Accra senior high cannot be used for
the research work, random sampling technique will be used to select the
population of 120 respondents from all the twelve classes Labone Senior High
b) Due to financial constraints only 120 questionnaires will be administered to
female students from these selected classes.
Delimitation of the Study
This study is delimited to students of Labone Senior High School. It is again
delimited to female students of the school and past female sports performers of the
This chapter deals with the review of the literature to the study.
Female participation in the physical education programme has been of a great
concern worldwide .Charles Bucher (1972) the renowned physical educationist
pointed out that physical education as an integral part of the total education
process is a field of endeavour which has its aim towards the improvement of
human performance through the medium of selected physical activities with the
aim of achieving their outcomes.
The philosophy of education is based on the premise that education is
designed to help man achieve excellence and that physical education as a part
of general education plays a vital role in this area.
Times have changed and continue to change very fast. No one can
look at the
world today with its rush, tension, competitive living and physical demand and
say that physical education must be the sole business of men, thus pushing
women to the background.
In America the press devote much space to the American women. Best selling
magazines, television talk shows and lecturers from coast to coast stress the
new female freedom and power(Engels Fredrick 1988).
Harris Wilson (1989) wrote that research in 1989 shows a remarkably growing
influence of women. Women have been found to be a potent force. That women
are playing a more prominent role in the American life not only in politics,
business, and government but also in the field of sports.
The research on P.E. the road to female participation in sports will look at this
critical issue under the following headings:
History of female participation in physical education
Perception of female participation in physical education
History of female participation in physical education
The beliefs and experiences of physical education today rest on the history of
this field of endeavour. It is the source of physical education’s identify.
Primitive society did not think of physical education as people
do today.
There was no organised physical education programme in primitive society or
in the cultures of the ancient oriental nations. From the physical point of view,
the primitive people did not need to set aside a period during the day when
they could participate in various forms of physical activities.
The Greece, is believed were the first to engage in physical education. As 2,
500 B.C. Bucher (1984) there were evidences of physical education activities
being popular in certain culture. Archaeological investigations at Mycenae and
other centre 0f Aegean civilisation have unearthed buildings, pottery and
materials that point to the important place of physical education in this ancient
culture. Literature such as Homer’s Lliard and Odyssey is also a source of
this information.
Physical education was a vital part of the education of the Greek boy.
‘exercise for the body and music for the soul’. Individuals ran, wrestled,
jumped danced or threw the javelin not for reward but for what would do for
their bodies.
According to Bucher and Reade (1988), in
Peloponnesus district of Greece, women as well as men were required to be
in good physical conditions. It was believed that healthy mothers would bear
healthy and
strong sons. Spartan women may have begun their physical
conditions as early as 7years of age and continued gymnastics in public until
they were married.
In 776 B. C. when the 1st Olympic games were held in ancient Greece women
not permitted to take part nor even allowed to be spectators. The
renaissance period Bucher (1984) helped
to interpret the worth of physical
education to the public in general. It demonstrated how a society that promotes
the dignity and freedom of its citizens both men and women and recognizes
the value of the human body. The belief became a preparation that physical
education is necessary for both males and females are a preparation for warfare
and as a means of developing the body.
In 1852 Catherine Beecher founded the American women’s
education and
(Bucher 1979). She was not concerned with building muscle and
strength. She was more interested in the weak and feeble persons society.
Instead of large muscles she aimed at agility, grace of movement and
flexibility and improving one’s general health and posture.
The first young women’s Christian Association was founded in Boston in 1866
by Mrs, Henry Dwant. This organization is similar to the young men’s
Christian association and has a broad physical educational programme for its
members. World war 1 started in 1914 and the United States entry in 1918
had internal impact on the nation’s education and physical education in
The selective service Act of 1917 called to service all men between the ages
of 18 and 25 years. There was the emancipation of women law and women
began to show interest in sports and physical education as well as other fields
formerly considered to be ‘off limit’. The few women physical educators at
the time were active in conditioning programmes in communities and in
industry at home (Greta & Cohen 1993).
In spite of the significant roles women play in the field of physical education,
Haragan (1977) wrote that females are limited in the number of social
outcomes they can possibly derive from their game playing and they are not
adequately prepare for a variety of adult social, political or economic roles.
Females are not adequately prepared for leadership or managerial positions
because of the games they are forced to play when they were children.
Participation of Women in Sports
Women’s participation in sport has a long history. It is a history marked by division
and discrimination but also one filled with major accomplishments by female athletes
and important advances for gender equality and the empowerment of women and
girls. Among the many remarkable achievements are those of Helene Madison of the
United State of America, the first women to swim the 100 yards freestyle in one
minute at the 1984 Olympics: Maria-Teresa de Filippis of Italy, the first woman to
compete in an European Grand Prix auto race in 1958: Nawal El Moutatawakel of
Morocco, the first woman from an Islamic nation to win an Olympic medal for the
400 metre hurdles at the 1984 Olympics: and Tegla Loroupe of Kenya, who in 1994
became the first African woman to win a major marathon. Women have taken up top
leadership positions in sport, such as Presidents and Secretaries-General of National
Olympic Committees. More and more women have also taken up employment
opportunities in all areas of sports, including as coaches, managers, official and sport
These achievements were made in the face of numerous barriers based on gender
discrimination. Women were often perceived as being too weak for sports,
particularly endurance sports, such as marathons, weight lifting and cycling and it was
often argued in the past that sport was harmful to women’s health, particularly their
reproductive health. In 1896, Boron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of modern
Olympics, stated: “No matter how toughened a sportswoman may be, her organism is
not cut out to sustain shocks.” Such stereotype fuelled discrimination in physical
education and in recreational and competitive sport, sporting organizations and sport
Benefits of Sports and Physical Activities
Physical Health
The physical health benefits of regular physical activity are well-established. Regular
participation in such activities is associated with a longer and better quality of life,
reduced risks of a variety of diseases and many psychological and emotional benefits.
There is also a large body of literature showing that inactivity is one of the most
significant causes of death, disability and reduced quality of life in the developed
world (Sallis, & Owen, 1999).
Physical activity may influence the physical health of girls in two ways. First, it can
affect the causes of disease during childhood and youth. Evidence suggests a positive
relationship between physical activity and a host of factors affecting girls’ physical
health, including diabetes, blood pressure and the ability to use fat for energy.
Secondly, physical activity could reduce the risk of chronic diseases in later life. A
number of ‘adult’ conditions, such as cancer, diabetes and coronary heart disease,
have their origins in childhood, and can be aided, in part, by regular physical activity
in the early years. Also, regular activity beginning in childhood helps to improve
bone health, thus preventing osteoporosis, which predominantly affects females (US
Department of Health and Human Services, 1996).
Obesity deserves special mention.
There seems to be a general trend towards
increased childhood obesity in a large number of countries, and this increase seems to
be particularly prevalent in girls from highly urbanised areas, some ethnic minorities
and the disabled. Obesity in childhood is known to have significant impact on both
physical and mental health, including hyperlipidemia, hypertension and abnormal
glucose tolerance. Physical activity can be an important feature of a weight control
programme for girls, increasing calorific expenditure and promoting fat reduction.
Indeed, recent systematic reviews on both the prevention and treatment of childhood
obesity recommend strategies for increasing physical activity.
Mental Health
In recent years, there has been evidence of disturbingly high rates of mental ill-health
among adolescents and even younger children, ranging from low-self-esteem, anxiety
and depression to eating disorders, substance abuse and suicide. Adolescent girls are
particularly vulnerable to anxiety and depressive disorders: by 15 years, girls are
twice as likely as boys to have experienced a major depressive episode; girls are also
significantly more likely than boys to have seriously considered suicide (Sallis, &
Owen, 1999).
Research suggests two ways in which physical activities can contribute to mental
health in girls. Firstly, there is fairly consistent evidence that regular activity can have
a positive effect upon girls’ psychological well-being; indeed, some studies indicate
that girls may respond more strongly than boys in terms of short-term benefits.
Secondly, research has indicated that physical activity can contribute to the reduction
of problematic levels of anxiety and depression. Evidence is beginning to be gathered
for exercise as a treatment for clinical depression, with studies finding that physical
activity is as effective a treatment as anti-depressants, and psychotherapy. Similarly,
a variety of non-clinical studies have found that higher levels of activity were related
to lower rates of depression. A position statement of the International Society of
Sport Psychology drew out numerous mental health benefits of physical activity from
the research literature, including reduced state anxiety, neuroticism and anxiety, mild
to moderate depression, and various kinds of stress (Friedman, & Berger, 1991).
Educational and Intellectual Development
A range of evidence suggests that for many girls, sports and physical activities are
positive features of their academic aspirations and achievement. The classic study of
the relationship between physical activity and school performance was carried out in
France in the early 1950s, in Vanves. Researchers reduced ‘academic’ curriculum
time by 26%, replacing it with physical activities, yet academic results did not
worsen, there were fewer discipline problems, greater attentiveness and less
absenteeism. More recent studies have found improvements for many children in
academic performance when time for physical activity is increased in their school
day. A report of three longitudinal studies emphasises that ‘academic performance is
maintained or even enhanced by an increase in a student’s level of habitual physical
activity, despite a reduction in curriculum or free time for the study of academic
There is considerable evidence of a positive relationship between girls’ participation
in sports and pro-educational values, although, at present, it is difficult to distinguish
between correlation and causation. Studies from the United States report a host of
encouraging findings including: girls who participate in sports are more likely to
achieve academic success than those who do not play sports; female high school
athletes expressed a greater interest in graduating from both high school and college;
female athletes from ethnic minority groups reported better school grades and greater
involvement in extra-curricular activities than non-athletes, and in some cases are
considerably less likely to drop-out from school. Other studies have suggested that
sports participation can help undermine traditional gender stereotyping in terms of
academic aptitude, by demonstrating an association between girls’ engagement in
sports and improved performance in science and mathematics (Shephard, 1997).
Reproductive Health
Adolescent pregnancy and sexual ill-health are major social problems across the
globe. Although there is a shortage of research in this area, early studies conducted in
the US have found that adolescent girls who participate in sports tend to become
sexually active later in life, have fewer partners, and, when sexually active, make
greater use of contraception than non-sporting girls. Projects are currently underway
in the developing world that use sports participation as a strategy for empowering
girls to avoid high risk sexual behaviour (Brady, 1998).
Social Inclusion
Combating social exclusion, or ‘the multiple and changing factors resulting in people
being excluded from the normal exchanges, practices and rights of modern society’,
has become a focus of attention for governments and non-governmental organisations
in recent years. Some writers have argued that sports not only reflect but can also
contribute to girls’ social exclusion in sports and wider society.
Certainly, the
dominance of sports as culturally valued physical activities, and the close
identification of sports with masculinity, means that other, non-masculine groups can
become pushed to the margins. However, positive sports experiences do seem to have
the potential to, at least, contribute to the process of inclusion by: bringing individuals
from a variety of social and economic background together in a shared interest in
activities that are inherently valuable; offering a sense of belonging, to a team, a club
or a programme; providing opportunities for the development of valued capabilities
and competencies; and increasing ‘community capital’, by developing social
networks, community cohesion and civic pride.
Studies of women’s experiences of sports participation have suggested that they can
contribute to a more generalised feeling of empowerment.
In many settings,
adolescents may be encouraged to view their bodies as sexual and reproductive
resources for men, rather than sources of strength for themselves. Physical activities
may help them develop a sense of ownership of their bodies and access the types of
activity experiences traditionally enjoyed by boys. This may be because participation
augments girls’ self-esteem, or because being an athlete carries with it a strong public
identity. Some female athletes report having a stronger sense of identity and selfdirection; what Talbot calls ‘being herself through sport’. Whatever the reasons,
increasing the numbers of girls’ participating in sports and physical activities does
seem to open up routes through which they can acquire new community affiliations
and begin to operate more openly and equally in community life. In doing so, girls’
participation can challenge and change social norms about their roles and capabilities
(Baranowski, et al, 1993).
Early experiences of physical activity
It is important to recognise the significance of girls’ early experiences of physical
activity and it is often within the context of school physical education lessons where
understanding of individual sporting identity is developed. It is interesting to note that
what were initially regarded as lesser concerns for school governing bodies, such as
specific uniforms for physical education lessons and the standards of showering
facilities, were found to be significant aspects in girls’ actual enjoyment of school
sports. Recognition of individual experience of the body has often been overlooked in
favour of broader policy driven issues relating to health and educational provision.
Particularly in sports, there are many occasions where the body is literally displayed
and this has the potential for the individual to be exposed to negative emotional
experiences of shame and bodily embarrassment. In consequence, sport has the
potential to be a source of embarrassment by way of being an activity where the body
is fore-grounded. Uniforms can often be revealing and communal showers can be the
source of unwanted displays of the naked body, particularly at a time when girls are
becoming more acutely aware of the social female body. The recognition of the body
as a contributory factor in shame is equally significant for boys and highlights the
importance of incorporating this aspect within any study of youth sports (Deem,
Studies have also highlighted a greater emphasis upon discipline in physical education
compared to other aspects of the curriculum. For instance, Scraton incorporates
sociological explanations, which describe the influence of everyday knowledge and
language in the regulation of bodies, and demonstrates how they can be applied to
particular practices found in physical education. Additional emphasis on discipline in
the context of physical education lessons suggests that distinctions are being made
between cerebral pursuits of academic study and corporeal activities and that differing
forms of regulation are required.
By the time students enter secondary school, they have developed clear activity
preferences. For instance, dance and gymnastics is shown to be either loved or hated
by students by the time they reach secondary school. In gymnastics, it was found that
enjoyment was closely related to personal ability whereas those who disliked it found
the experience humiliating. Similarly, in dance there were opportunities for creativity
and expression which were seen as positive. However, the teaching approaches and
presence of boys were cited as reasons for not liking it. What becomes apparent is that
bodily performances play an important role in the experience of physical education,
not only in terms of bio-mechanical dexterity but more in the way that social bodily
performances become central to whether a sport is enjoyed or not. Lack of ability is a
contributory factor, but there are many other social situations which emerge which
have the potential to cause humiliation.
Elements considered essential to the
performance of a sport, such as competition, bodily performances, display of ability,
winning or losing are often overlooked in terms of how these impact upon individual
self-esteem (Sabo, et al, 2004).
Geographical and physical aspects can contribute to the positive or negative
experience of school sports on the individual body. Some ways to combat the negative
experience of sport which many school children face include the provision of a
broader curriculum, more practical applications of uniform policy and teaching
strategies which enhance rather than diminish self-esteem. However, one of the
solutions offered is to focus upon ways in which girls can have access to the same
range of activities as boys. This is problematic, as it does not take into consideration
one of the main areas causing negative experience, chiefly, the elements within the
practices involved in school sports which contribute to the experience of them in
terms of shame and humiliation. These are not areas which are the sole reserve of
girls, but are equally experienced by boys who do not conform to those same
expectations which restrict the girls. Thus, work which incorporates the
acknowledgement of a range of subordinated masculinities within the context of sport
needs to be applied (Kirk, et al, 2000).
Empowering Women and Girls Through Sport
Sport can be an important tool for social empowerment through the skills and values
learned, such as teamwork, negotiation, leadership, communication and respect for
others. The social benefits of participation in sport are thought to be especially
important for girls, given that many girls, particularly in adolescence, have fewer
opportunities than boys for social interaction outside the home and beyond family
structures.41 Women and girls acquire new interpersonal networks, develop a sense
of identity and access new opportunities, allowing them to become more engaged in
school and community life. Participation in sport also enables women and girls to
enjoy freedom of expression and movement and increase their self-esteem and selfconfidence.
It has also been argued that sport and physical education can serve as the basis for a
sense of “positive embodiment”. This concept goes beyond the idea of physical
fitness and incorporates psychological benefits and the pursuit of active spiritual
practices. The psychological benefits of physical activity, essential for a sense of
positive embodiment, can be acquired through the enjoyment of the physical activity,
self-chosen levels of competition, and the provision of social support from the family
and the community.
The concept of positive embodiment implies that women and girls have the right and
responsibility to create active, healthy lifestyles to sustain vitality in their lives. There
are psychological, emotional and medical benefits to doing so, as well as significant
broader economic and social gains. The concept starts with traditional fitness and
adds psychosocial wellness strategies and the pursuit of active self-care for body,
mind and spirit. Positive embodiment requires a lifestyle incorporating self-assertion
and self-care which is the basis of a vigorous and satisfying sense of one’s own body.
Positive embodiment can be seen as a model of self-care that allows women to
achieve a balance between caring for themselves and caring for others. Most women
prioritize the needs of others before their own needs, a pattern that often leads to
neglect of themselves. As a result, women deplete their resources of time and energy
in the care of others. Self-care involves the creation of personal time and space for
women and opportunities for positive interaction of the mind, body and spirit.
Adoption of the physical embodiment approach, with its critical concept of active
self-care, would require complex changes in lifestyle for many women.
Sport can serve as a vehicle to improve women’s and girls’ leadership roles and
participation in decision-making. The acquisition of valuable skills in management,
negotiation and decision-making empowers women and girls to become leaders in all
areas of community life, as well as in the household.
As more and more women and girls serve in leadership and decision-making
positions, their influence as role models and mentors encourages more women and
girls to participate at all levels of sport. Promoting and documenting the successes of
women and girl leaders in the world of sport is an important step in raising awareness
and providing encouragement and support to other aspiring leaders.
Sporting activities can be an important forum for providing information to women and
girls on sexuality and health, including reproductive health. Girls’ participation in
sport can generate a greater awareness and understanding of their bodies and its
functions, as well as a greater sense of self-ownership and respect. A study by the
Women’s Sports Foundation on sport and teen pregnancy in the United States found
that the sense of ownership and respect for their bodies developed by adolescent girls
who participate in sport encourages them to delay sexual activity, thereby reducing
the levels of teen pregnancy. Research on links between sport and girls’ sexual
behaviour has also been conducted by the Wellesley Centers for Women. The study
showed that the decrease in risky sexual behaviour among girls who participate in
sport is partly due to a delay in sexual initiation and partly due to social-psychological
dynamics, such as enhanced self-confidence, a less stereotypical gender identity
and/or a stronger desire to avoid teenage pregnancy.
Physical Education in Schools
For all girls and young women, access to physical education in schools can play an
important role in promoting their participation in sport. During the 1970s, 1980s and
1990s, physical education in schools worldwide was subject to decreasing curricula
time, reduced financial, physical and human resources, and a low subject status. Since
the Berlin Physical Education World Summit in November 1999, there have been
significant improvements in school-based physical education in developed countries,
but unfortunately little change in developing countries (Hardman, 2004).
The inclusion of physical education in official curricula does not necessarily promote
physical activity among girls, as the physical education provided may be heavily
biased towards boys in terms of types of activity, teaching styles and accessible
resources. For example, physical education in some countries is optional for girls and
many choose not to take part, a situation exacerbated by a lack of facilities, such as
changing rooms for girls.
In addition to policies that support the right to physical education, there is a need to
ensure that policies and programmes on school-based physical education fully
incorporate gender perspectives. For example, in addition to promoting an increase in
participation by girls and young women, traditional stereotypes and gender-based
segregation in sport and physical education should be discouraged. Both boys and
girls need to be encouraged to move beyond the traditional classification of different
types of sports as male (such as rugby) or female (such as netball), and to pursue a
diverse range of physical activity. To achieve this, policies and programmes should be
established to raise awareness among students, parents and staff; the number of
women physical education teachers should be increased; gender-sensitive training
should be provided for all teachers; and adequate resources allocated (Hardman,
The purpose of this research is to find out how P.E. leads to female
participation in sports in Greater Accra schools and colleges particularly Labone
Senior High School
This chapter deals basically with the methodology of the research. It is made
up of the following sub-headings;
Research Design
Sample and Sampling Technique
Data Collection Procedure
Data Analysis Procedure
Research Design
A descriptive survey was used as the design for the study, so that inferences could be
made about characteristics with respect to the sample size. Delen (1979) notes that
descriptive surveys are versatile and practical, especially to the researcher in that they
identify present needs. He further notes that descriptive research is basic for all types
of research in assessing the situation as a pre-requisite for conclusions and
generalizations. In supporting this view, Fraenkel and Wallen (2003) observed that
the purpose of descriptive research is to observe, describe and document aspects of a
phenomenon as it naturally occurs. They further contend that in descriptive research,
the events or conditions either already exist or have occurred and the researcher
merely selects the relevant variables for analysis of their relationship.
According to Best and Kahn (1993), descriptive survey is concerned with the
conditions or relationships that exist, such as determining the nature of prevailing
conditions, practices and attitudes, opinions that are held, processes that are going on
or trends that are developed. Fraenkel and Wallen (2003) also maintain that in
descriptive research, accurate description of activities, objects, processes and persons
is the objective. It was therefore, expedient to use the descriptive survey to find out
the correlation between P.E. and sports to women at the various levels. The researcher
adopts a qualitative approach which gives the researcher the opportunity to collect and
analyze numerical information statistically.
The target population for the study is made up of 125 female students from
the Labone Senior High School (SHS). But the accessible population was made up
of 100 female student who are still at school and 25 past students from the Labone
Sample and Sampling Technique
The probability sampling method was adopted by the researcher.
According to
Alhassan, (2006, P.50) in “Probability sampling, randomness is essential and it is a
key element in the process”. This sampling method was meant to give all the subjects
in the population equal chance to be selected and included in the sample unit.
The simple random method was adopted by the researcher. “This process of sampling
gives every member in the population the probability of being selected to represent
the population” (Alhassan 2006 P. 51). Therefore, the method ensures that every
individual in the population has equal chance to be included in the sample unit
(Kwabia, 2006). This method was suitable for the study because the population was
relatively homogenous. That is, the population was made up of only female students.
The lottery technique was adopted for the sampling. With this technique, a list of all
female students was obtained at the Headteachers office. The list was arranged and
numbers were attached to all the names of the female students. Numbers equivalent
to the number of all the personnel were written on pieces of papers. These pieces of
papers containing the numbers were folded and put into a hat. They were shuffled
thoroughly before drawing. There was reshuffling after each draw. This process was
rigidly followed until the required number was obtained. Names of female students
that corresponded to the numbers selected were included in the sampling unit. The
same was repeated for the female past students. This method helped to obtain a
sample unit that represented the entire population.
The research instrument is two sections. Section A is about demographic details of the
respondents and section B is the five point likert scale format questionnaire. The
questionnaire was the main instrument used for collecting data. This is made up of
both close and open ended questions.
The questionnaire, according to Alhassan (2006), is a systematically prepared
document which contains questions to elicit responses from respondents or research
informants for the purpose of collecting data.
Apart from its suitability for wider coverage, the questionnaire produced reliable
information, helped to be interviewed more respondents and reduce bias and influence
of the researcher. These help to produce the desire result as directed by the objective
of the study. Both close ended and open ended questions were used/this was meant to
obtain comparable responses and to avoid uncoordinated ideas which could make
analyses difficult.
Data Collection
The questionnaires were personally administered to the 125 participants selected for
the study. The researcher contacted the head of the schools and arranged with him for
the appropriate date to administer the questionnaire. The consent of the respondents
was sought and educated on the rationale of the study. The need for honesty was also
emphasized. Adequate explanation as to how to answer the questionnaire was also
given. Respondents were given ample time to complete the questionnaire at their own
pace. The questionnaire administration lasted for fifteen working days. The direct
involvement of the researcher in all data collection situations ensured hundred percent
recovery of the questionnaire.
Data Analysis
As the data were collected through questionnaires, it was expedient to say how such
data were analysed. Khan (1990) defines data analysis as studying an organised
material in order to discover inherent facts.
The total size of the sample was reported along with the overall percentage of the
returns. The percentage of total sample responding to each item was also reported.
The percentage of respondents who chose each alternative for each question was also
stated. Furthermore, all appropriate descriptive statistics were used to describe the
data. The result of each question was tabulated and a final percentage was reported
using tables to further describe the results.
This chapter focuses on presentation and analysis of data collected from the field. The
analysis was based on the objectives of the study and also based on responses from
the respondents sampled for the study. The study used a purely descriptive means of
analysis and utilised descriptive statistics such as tables and pie charts.
Figure 1: Form of Respondents
Form of Students
Data in Figure 1 indicated that 36 (36%) of the students sampled for he study were in
SHS 1, 39 (39%), in SHS 2, while 25 (25%) were in SHS 3. This means that, there
more SHS 2 students in the study.
Table 1: Academic Programme of Respondents
Data in Table 1 showed that, 20% of the students were pursuing Science, 58% were
pursuing General Arts, while 22% pursued Business. The data indicated that there are
more students (58%) studying General Arts than others in the programmes.
Series of statements was used to find out factors that account for truancy and
absenteeism. These statements were answered using items 1 – 13 on the questionnaire
for female students. Each of these items was coded as Strongly Disagree = 1,
Disagree = 2, Undecided = 3, Agree = 4, and Strongly Agree = 5. All the forty parents
responded to all the items. Their responses are indicated in Table 4.7.
Table 2:
Frq %
The School time table includes P. E. 73 73
The P. E Teachers teach P. E. Lesson 49
allocated to them on the time table
Female students in Labone SHS participate 14
in sports and athletics during their leisure
Admission of female students into the SHS 1
emphasizes sports more than academic
Social support to female students 16
influences their participation in sports
Labone SHS sports section has instituted 7
an academic support programme for
female students who are athletes.
The school team is made up of only those 14
who take part in the inter house
Female students in Labone participate in 5
sports and athletics during their leisure
My school organizes sports competition
every academic year
Female students
equal 60
opportunity to take part in all sporting
You only join the school team when you 6
participate in P.E. classes
Female students join the school team when 21
they do well during the inter house
Female students who are found in the 15
school team are people who actively take
part in P.E. lesson.
Key: F= Frequency, SA = Strongly Agree, A = Agree, U= Undecided, D= Disagree,
SD = Strongly Disagree
Data in Table 2 indicated that all (100%) the female students agreed that the school
time table include physical education (P.E.) lessons, 90% agreed that P.E teachers
teach the lesson allocated them on the time table, 7% disagreed, while 3% of the
female students were undecided. This affirms Bucher’s
(1972) assertion that
physical education as an integral part of the total education process is a field
performance through the medium of selected physical activities with the aim of
achieving their outcomes.
The data in Table 2 also indicated that 60% of the female students in Labone SHS
disagreed that they participate in sports during their leisure time, 37% agreed, while
3% were undecided. Also, 80% of the female students disagreed that admission of
female students into the SHS emphasizes sports more than academic talents, 6%
disagreed, while 14% were undecided.
On social support to female students influences their participation in sports activities,
54% of the female students agreed to the statement, 11% were undecided, while 35%
disagreed to the statement. Twenty five percent of the female students agreed that
Labone SHS sports section has instituted an academic support programme for female
students who are athletes, 20% were undecided, while 55% of the students disagreed.
In another development, 29% of the female students disagreed that the school team is
made up of only those who take part in the inter house competition, 10% were
undecided, while 61% of the female students disagreed to the statement. Still in Table
2, 20% of the female students disagreed that female students in Labone SHS
participate in sports and athletics during their leisure time, 19% were undecided,
while 61% disagreed that female student in Labone SHS participate in sports and
athletics during their leisure time.
Furthermore in Table 2, 87% of the female students disagreed that their school
organizes sports competition every academic year, while 13% disagreed to the
statement. Also, 79% of the students agreed that female students are given equal
opportunity to take part in all sporting activities, while 21% disagreed to the
statement. It was also revealed from Table 2 that 11% of the students disagreed that
you can only join the school team when you participate in P.E. lessons, 9% were
undecided, while 80% disagreed to the statement.
Finally, the data in Table 2 showed that 55% of the students agreed that female
students join the school team when they do well during the inter house competitions,
5% were undecided, while 40% of the students disagreed to the statement. Twenty
nine percent of the students agreed that female students who are found in the school
team are people who actively take part in P.E. lessons, 10% were undecided, while
61% of the students disagreed to the statement.
Analysis from female (past students) performers
Figure 2: Level/Stage Students entered into Sports
Results in Figure 2 showed that, 16% of the students indicated that they got into
sports at the JHS level, 40% indicated SHS, 16% said tertiary, while 28% indicated
professional level. This means that most of the female past students sampled for the
study got into active sports at the Senior High School (SHS) level.
Table 3: How Students got into Sports
P. E. Lesson
Table 3 indicated how female past students got into sports. The results in the table
showed that 64% of the past students indicated they got into sports through physical
education (PE) lessons, 28% indicated friends, while 8% said their parents
encouraged and assisted them. When respondents were asked as to whether they have
competed for their school (not in table), they all (100%) responded in the positive
Table 4: Responses as to Whether Respondents have Competed for their Nation
The data in Table 4 showed that 72% of the past students indicated that they have
competed for their nation, while 28% said that they have never competed for their
nation. This means that majority of the respondents have competed for their nation.
Table 5: Mode of Selection into the School Team
Mode of Selection
Inter houses
Inter sections
Inter classes
Table 5 showed that 60% of the past students said that they were selected into their
school team through inter houses, 24% said through inter sections, 12% said through
trials; while 4% said they were selected through inter classes. This means that
majority (60%) of the past students were selected into the school team through inter
house competition.
Table 6: Mode of Selection into the National Team
Mode of Selection
Inter zonal
Inter schools
Inter districts
Inter regional
Club competition
Not applicable
Data in Table 6 revealed that 40% of the past students indicated that they were
selected into the national team through inter regional competitions, 28% said they
were selected through inter zonal competitions, 16% said they were selected through
inter schools competitions, while 8% of the past students said they were selected
through club competition, and 8% also said not applicable, meaning their selection
was neither of the options provided.
Table 7: Responses as to Whether being in the School Team Contributed to the
of the National Team
Percentage (%)
Responses in Table 7 showed that 88% of the past students said that being in the
school team made it possible to join the national team, while 12% responded in the
negative. This means that majority of the past students joined the national team after
being in the school team.
This chapter presents the summary of the findings of the study, conclusion and
recommendations. The study was undertaken to investigate female students’
participation in Physical Education with particular reference to Labone SHS. Some of
the findings derived from the data formed the basis for recommendation for ensuring
female students participation in Physical Education.
Summary of Findings
Female students from Labone SHS were randomly selected to participate in the study.
One hundred (100) female students who were still at school and fifty (50) past female
students formed the sampled population for the study. The data obtained were
presented and analyzed by means of frequency distribution table and simple
A number of findings emerged from the studies which are summarized below;
The school time table at Labone Senior High include physical education
lessons. This means that students at Labone SHS have equal chance to
participate in physical education lessons. Also, physical education teachers at
Labone SHS teach P.E. lessons allocated to them on the time table.
Majority of the female students at Labone SHS do not participate in sports and
athletics during their leisure time. This could be due to the fact that their
admission into the school was not base on sports but rather their academic
The study revealed that social support to female students influences their
participation in sporting activities. In this regard, the sports section of Labone
SHS has no academic support programme for female students who are
The Labone SHS team is not made up of only those who participate in the
inter house competition. Also, ones qualification into the school team is not
based on his or her participation in P.E. classes.
Sports competitions are organized every academic year in which female
students are given equal opportunity to participate.
It was also revealed from the past female students that they actively enter into
sports at the SHS level through P.E. lessons.
Also, all the female past students sampled for the study have competed for
their school, while 72% have competed for the nation.
Majority were selected into the school team is through inter houses
competitions. Selection into the national team was through into Districts and
Zonal competitions.
Majority of the past female students indicated that their inclusion into the
school as well as the national team has really helped them.
The benefits of participation in physical activities are great, and the potential costs of
inactivity can be severe. Many girls around the world are not currently able to take
advantage of the benefits of regular sports and physical activities due to inequitable
access and opportunities. Therefore, a central challenge facing governments, schools,
sports groups and communities is to develop forms of physical activity that are
sensitive to girls’ needs and interests. But rather than focusing on ‘girl-friendly’
sports, we should be looking for ways to make sports and other physical activities
more ‘child-friendly’ and ‘youth-friendly’.
Based on the outcome of the study, the following recommendations have been made:
1. Girls do enjoy engaging in physical activities.
Strategies should be
implemented which will help girls build upon this enjoyment, and allow them
to participate as fully as possible, in forms that offer them satisfaction and
opportunities for achievement.
2. School physical education is a foundation of life-long physical activity.
Fundamental movement skills need to be developed from an early age, for all
children, with the emphasis on the individual body, rather than sporting
3. Some girls regularly engage in sports and physical activities, as an integral
part of their lifestyle. Any strategies concerned with raising participation
among young people need to remember that neither girls nor boys are ‘the
problem’; rather, the difficulty lies with the ways in which physical activities
are constructed and presented.
4. It is important to examine and highlight the practices inherent within sports
which might deter children from participating. Sports provision may need to
be adapted to encourage and accommodate all young people.
5. The organisation of sports groups and programmes should include women in
key roles, such as coaching and mentors, and role models drawn from within
local communities and schools.
These should reflect differences in
perspectives and interests, and develop close links with schools and
communities, to ensure continuity of engagement in sports and physical
activities throughout life.
6. The more opportunities that are available for girls to be physically active, the
more they are active. Strategies need to be put in place to ensure that activities,
settings and facilities are easily accessible and safe.
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