To read this content please select one of the options below:

Women's Football in the Arab Region: Local Perspectives and Global Challenges

Hussa K. Al-Khalifa (Loughborough University, UK)

Women’s Football in a Global, Professional Era

ISBN: 978-1-80071-053-5, eISBN: 978-1-80071-052-8

Publication date: 9 March 2023


This chapter provides insight into the professionalisation of women football in the Arab region. In a traditionally conservative geographic area where men's football has only recently turned professional or remains semi-professional, the chances for the professionalisation of women football appear dim; yet some countries are already taking progressive strides. This chapter explores the practical and cultural barriers to women football professionalisation and provides examples of success stories, current efforts in the wake of global trends and the resilience of female footballers in the region. In doing so, the chapter challenges misconceptions and critically examines assumptions around what professionalisation ‘looks like’ within the context presented. The research takes a multi-sited approach, presenting evidence of the women footballing environment from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It utilises an intersectional and transnational lens for analysing women football experiences as shaped by a culmination of the athletes' gender, religion and cultural expectations and as situated within the international women footballing context. The author uses her professional field experience with over 18 years of involvement in elite Arab women football, connecting personal experiences to the study and providing richer interpretive opportunities to the data provided. Her professional participation as a local expert and researcher uniquely positions this study for engagement on the field and sense-making reflective practices and analysis. The study aims to further understandings on women football experiences from an area where there is a great dearth of scholarship on the matter and even less so from local researchers.



Al-Khalifa, H.K. (2023), "Women's Football in the Arab Region: Local Perspectives and Global Challenges", Culvin, A. and Bowes, A. (Ed.) Women’s Football in a Global, Professional Era (Emerald Studies in Sport and Gender), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 83-98.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023 by Emerald Publishing Limited