Exclusion, belonging and mental wellness: the sporting and physically active leisure experiences of women in rural Australia

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Abstract

This study examined how access to, and experiences in, physically
active leisure and/or sport impact on women’s physical, social,
and emotional health and mental wellness in rural or remote
communities across Australia. The online, open-ended survey
participants were 92 females, aged 18–76 years (M = 44 years),
including 64 women who were university educated, 20 aged 60
years and over, 10 from diverse sexual orientations and gender
identities (SOGI) and seven First Nations Australians. Through a
framework of intersectionality and an integrative theory for
belonging, three key themes describing the women’s experiences
were uncovered: welcoming and inclusive spaces, mental
wellness, and unwelcoming spaces and exclusion. Nuances across
age, ethnocultural background and sexuality were identified in
the data, as well as how intersections of gender and place/rurality
affected women’s perceived overall health and mental wellness.
These findings have implications for sport and leisure
programming and policies in rural contexts.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnals of leisure research
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2024

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