Although socio-cultural issues in relation to women within the fields of sport and exercise have been extensively researched, this research has tended to concentrate on the Western world. Women, Sport and Exercise in the Asia-Pacific Region moves the conversation away entirely from Western contexts to discuss these issues with a sole focus on the geographic Asia-Pacific region.
In this chapter, Schuster and Schoeffel discuss Samoa, a small island developing country, and how it has facilitated a wide range of sports that are played in international competitions. However, these sports are less accessible to the rural majority, especially women and girls, than they are to an urban middle-class minority. The country has a policy that explicitly aims to encourage sports participation for women and girls throughout Samoa, yet there are few females involved at all levels of recreational or competitive sports, compared with males. This chapter draws on a survey of secondary schools and interviews with leaders of national and community sports programmes, and the authors’ own long-term observations, to examine the barriers of culture, class and locality to participation by girls and women.