Results from a worldwide survey of korfballers indicate the sport has the potential to play an important role in improving gender equity.
Carried out by Honorary Member of the International Korfball Federation and former chair of Korfball Australia Mr Roy Kirkby, the research attracted responses from 240 korfball people in 25 countries.
A majority of boys, girls, men and women had observed changes in gender relationships while playing korfball, becoming more accepting of the other gender’s point of view, more co-operative in joint gender activities, more accepting of the other gender in a leadership role, and promoting the involvement of the other gender.
A strong majority of respondents felt the influence of korfball on particular groups was somewhat positive or very positive.
Commenting on the survey findings, Roy Kirkby said: “Most Dutch respondents felt that there was no gender issue and that both genders were treated as one, with equality and equity in playing roles and arrangements. They felt that respect was an important outcome of playing together and there was greater ease in interaction and communications. From other cultures a number felt that people coming from single sex sports were happier and developed greater respect and understanding of the opposite gender in korfball. They appreciate being without the negative social issues of the single sex sports culture they had often experienced.”
One survey respondent from The Netherlands summarised her experience of gender relations in korfball:
“I am respected by men on the field, and those players also respect me off the field. I feel comfortable in the presence of men and korfball made me more outspoken to other men because it is natural. I don’t feel like I am any less than a man, off or on the field. I have witnessed several friendships and even love between the different players. Men and women view each other as equals and accept each others’ roles in the team. The team I play in has been mostly together from a young age and we, women and men, are good friends off the field. You participate easier with the other gender because you have been experiencing that in a high pressure environment.”
Roy Kirkby intends to continue working to further emphasise korfball’s potential to enhance gender equity and relationships.
For the full report on the survey; GenderRelationsSurveyReport 2016