Ustainability in Rural Women Football: A Case of Teams Participating in Kass Tournament in Kericho County, Kenya
Kirui, Aldad Kiprotich
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This was a case study of teams participating in the KASS tournament in the Bureti sub-county, Kericho County. The study was informed that, despite the effort and support offered by KASS Media Group, the government and other stakeholders' women football teams in the Bureti sub-county lack sustainability. Thus no women team from the sub-county has survived beyond a season of the tournaments. Therefore, the specific objectives of the study were: to establish and document the history of women participation in the KASS tournament, the process used to involve women and the factors influencing their participation in the tournament, to identify the challenges associated with organizing women football teams for the tournament and with finding out effective strategies to put in place to improve women's participation in the KASS tournament. The study was guided by Lorber's explication of the social construction of gender to analyze the history and the development of women's soccer, factors, and challenges influencing the participation and its importance in women's empowerment in African rural areas. The study employed the case study research design and utilized qualitative and quantitative approaches. Data collection instruments included: questionnaires and interview guides. The research targeted 56 women football players from rural parts of the Bureti sub-county selected using simple random sampling. Six officials were chosen randomly so that they could provide their views on the study. A pilot study was carried out to test and improve the validity and reliability of the research instruments before the actual study. To achieve the first objective, descriptive statistics were utilized to describe the history of women's participation in Football in the Bureti sub-county. In the second objective, both descriptive statistics were used to establish the frequencies to interrogate the process and factors that influence the involvement of women in Football. In the third objective, the study utilized descriptive statistics and found the challenges affecting women's football in rural areas. Quantitative data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) computer software, while qualitative data were analyzed thematically. Inferential findings from quantitative data are presented in tables and graphs, whereas qualitative data are presented in narratives. The study established a lot of interest in Football in women. Still, their involvement was deterred by the history of rural women Football and their household gender roles as they were not included in decision making. It also established that challenges emerged from lack of awareness, the patriarchal societal structure, lack of approval and support from family and community, and disparities from organizers and other stakeholders. Based on these findings, the strategies suggested include running campaigns to create awareness on the benefits of women football in rural areas, provision and improvement of incentives and rewards for women football teams, active involvement of women in decision making in mainstream leadership, setting aside resources for women football, organization, and management of women football leagues and tournaments. Therefore, the study's general conclusion is that there exist gender-related factors that impede the sustainability of rural women's football teams in the Bureti sub-county. Consequently, it is recommended that campaigns ensure the society stops socially conditioning the community into masculine and feminine roles and end the travesty and under-representation of women in sports leadership.