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Sample Dissertation Chapter Paper on Factors Affecting Women Horse Riding in UAE

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Sample Dissertation Chapter Paper on Factors Affecting Women Horse Riding in UAE

Background of the Research

The population of women in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), since recent times, have been achieving certain measures for their lawful protection. In the years of 2008 and 2009, 21percent of women in UAE had been involved in the labour force that is considerably low in comparison with other nations across the globe (Devers & Bacon 362). What makes the situation worse for women in the society is the stereotype that women having loose morals may end up losing their virginity prior to their marriage. Majority of the population in UAE can be seen retaining the traditional and conservation notion that women have to stay virgin prior to their marriage (Abu-Reesheh 1). For a large population of females in UAE, horse riding has been considered as an impossible dream that is also due to the notion of virginity in the society. They end up facing frowns and lack of support from the traditional society, including their family member who considers horse riding as an activity for men only.

This research aims at addressing the issue of women horse riding in the UAE. This number is considerably low in comparison to a number of nations across the globe.

1.2 Aim of the Research

The aim of this research is to identify the factors that affect the rate of women horse riding in UAE.

1.3 Research Questions

The main research question for this paper is as follows:

  • What are the factors affecting women horse riding in the UAE?

The literature review will be presented in context with the following sub- research questions providing a base to answer the main research question:

  • What is the current condition of women in UAE?
  • What is the scientific effect of horse riding on women?
  • What are the cultural and religious issues of women horse riding in UAE?
1.4 Significance of the Research

There is a large population of females in the UAE and a number of females have been showing willingness in the sports activity of horse riding as a profession or out of habit. However, the society is aware of certain scientific effects horse riding for women because the population of women horse riding remains considerably low (Abu-Reesheh 1). Therefore, it becomes important to conduct a research on the related subject.

Chapter 2: Literature Review

2.1 Women in UAE

The role played by women in the society of UAE has expanded gradually since the discovery oil. Before the year 1960, there had been a number of opportunities for them beyond the realm of their families and their home. In the early years of 1990s, there had been societies of five women to promote several issues of its significance to women that included health and literacy (Toumi 1). In the year 2006, almost 20 per cent of women in UAE had been involved in the national force of labour. UAE holds the second rank in terms of lowest population of working women.

The activities of sports amongst the population of UAE are practiced widely at a significant rate. Football has been identified as the most popular activity of sports in the UAE (Abu-Odeh 915). Horse riding in UAE is also known as endurance riding and has been identified as a traditional sport. The UAE claims on being the international leaders in this particular sport and campaigns are being held to involve it in Olympic Games (Abu-Odeh 916). Thus, it can be stated that there has been a growth in sports and several different areas of the society in the UAE.

In context with this development, it has been identified that women of UAE have been successful in reaching a number of top positions across the nations, in both private sectors and public sector, but a women who is involved in horse riding has been identified as a rare sight (Ghazal 1). Filmmaker and Equestrian enthusiast, Hanan Al Muhairi attempted to break this glass ceiling by a documentary film related to the first team of females in horse riding in the UAE (Ghazal 1). The goal was to create a place that has a link between the greatest horses of UAE and the future riders of horse. The documentary focused on reflecting the honest yet hard look at the reality, dreams and struggles of horse riding for the women of UAE. This documented myths and busted misconception in the society about horse riding and women (Ghazal 1).

The community of UAE, in general is narrow minded that results in creating the issues for women in UAE. Difficulty is faced in accepting that females are known to be having the right for riding horses and the fact that it cannot be considered as a forbidden sport for the society (Saadawi 44).

2.2 Scientific effect of horse riding on women

It has been identified that horse riding amongst women in considered inappropriate for a number of reasons. This part of the literature review will be discussing the different scientific effect of horse riding on women that is considered as a major reason due to which this particular activity is not considered appropriate for women.

What makes the situation worse for women in the society is the stereotype that women having loose morals may end up losing their virginity prior to their marriage. Majority of the population in UAE can be seen retaining the traditional and conservation notion that women have to stay virgin prior to their marriage (Zuhur 14). For a large population of females in the UAE, horse riding has been considered as an impossible dream that is also due to the notion of virginity in the society. They end up facing frowns and lack of support from the traditional society, including their family members who consider horse riding as an activity for men only.

Irrespective of the fact that hymen serves no other purpose in biological terms; it has probably been identified as the most controversial element in the anatomy of female, even though not every single woman has hymen by birth. Hymen is considered as a key indicator of virginity in females. Virginity of women is a major factor for men in UAE as losing virginity prior to marriage is a major offence (Abd-El-Jawad 310). However, it is a scientific fact that the hymen may not only break due to sexual intercourse, as there are a number of other factors that result in the breakage or separation of hymen. These reasons cannot be connected with sexual intercourse at all (Zuhur 18).

It has been identified that horse riding results in the breakage of hymen. This is because the hymen can break if the body stretches in a strenuous manner, as in any athletic sport such as bicycling and horse riding (Abu-Odeh 918). On other occasions, it has been identified that there can be separation of hymen due to no reason at all as well.

Yet, it becomes important to consider certain health benefits by horse riding for men as well as women. Horse riding helps in stimulating equilibrium and righting reaction, normal adjustment of posture, and fixation of the posture. Furthermore, it helps in inhibiting tonic labyrinthine and tonic neck reflexes that further helps in supporting positive reaction (Zuhur 44). In the overall context, horse riding has a major impact on the entire body and there are certain misconceptions and stereotypes about horse riding for women. However, this particular effect of horse riding on women is a major issue for the society of UAE that will be discussed further ahead in the literature review.

2.3 Cultural and Religious Issues of Women Horse Riding in UAE

It is important for dismantling the link amongst honour and virginity for properly understanding the cultural and social context of women horse riding in the UAE (Abu-Reesheh 1). A number of studies have identified that link between the idea of honour and sexual conduct of women in the societies of Arab. It is evident why the society of UAE opposes women horse riding. It has been identified that horse riding results in the breakage of hymen (Devers & Bacon 366). This is because the hymen can break if the body stretches in a strenuous manner, as in any athletic sport such as bicycling and horse riding. In other instances, it has been identified that there can be separation of hymen due to unknown reasons. The hymen has been identified as a major indicator for the eligibility of women for the purpose of marriage (Abu-Odeh 922).

Lack of virginity amongst women in UAE and several parts of the world such as India and Pakistan, results in the establishment of a completely different category of females that is extended across the stereotypes of the society (Berger & Wenger 669). According to the religious values of UAE, women have been compared with delicate glasses that if broken, cannot be repaired (Shalhoub-Kevorkian 1189). The anthropological research by Hussein on virginity in the culture of Egypt reflected the similar findings and the discourse of virginity is a major factor comprising behavioural and physical elements also (Zuhur 46).

Hence, a woman from UAE interested in horse riding ends up facing the issue of virginity loss that is a major component for the society and the reputation of the women. Furthermore, it can be stated that women in UAE hesitate to participate in horse riding due to the issue they face. This is because as the society believes that the loss of virginity by any reason results in the loss of value of women.

Chapter 3: Research Methodology

3.1 Introduction

Research methodology involves a speculative and methodical analysis of the procedures applied in a field of study. This includes a critical scrutiny of the methodologies and principles linked with data collection and analysis process in any study. Research methodology will offer a system through which different methods will be assimilated in a comprehensible and consistent method to certify that the research questions are addressed in an effectively. This will be through the data collection, measurement, and analysis. The research type was analytical this is because the study attempted to explain why the prevailing cultural and social factors in the UAE contribute to low number of women horse riders in the country. The research also endeavoured to establish a causal relationship between the general factors affecting women and their level of interest in horse riding.

The topic of this study played a significant part in the determining the methodology that will be used in collection and analysis of data. To enable an understanding of the aims of this study, this segment will provide particulars of the research philosophy, research design, research approach, research strategy, data collection methods, sampling methods, data analysis, and the ethical limitations of the study. Furthermore, the segment attempts to establish the presence of a causal association between the variables that characterize the research. The aim of analytical research is to offer elucidations and explanations on the incidences of different characteristics. 

3.2 Research Philosophy

This philosophical model was practical for the study because of its purpose to obtain information about the situation of women horse riders in the UAE and generalize the results to apply to the UAE and other communities where women are affected by similar factors. It was necessary to embrace subjectivism throughout the study.

The study incorporated the epistemological interpretivist methodology since its results will be founded on the prevailing differences between the people and the social objects involved. This explains why it was imperative to grip the subjective denotation of all the engagements taken by the authorities in the UAE with regard to the wellbeing of women. One objective of this study was to recognize and differentiate diverse variables in relation to their relationship with the factors affecting women riders in the UAE. Through epistemological intepretivism approach, it became moderately easier for the research to provide an understanding the role of the different players in the UAE with regard to addressing matters related to improving the prevailing conditions that address the factors affect women horse riders in the UAE.

To fulfil its obligation of understanding the factors affecting women riders in the UAE, the study used subjectivism approach. This approach was vital in the development of an understanding of how different factors affecting women riders in the UAE can be addressed to improve on their conditions. Subjectivism, the ontological method functions on the understanding that social phenomenon is a creation of the actions and insights of different actors in any social setting. This means that social entities such as the UAE society are products of incessant interfaces between different actors. The society is a dynamic entity in nature and it is susceptible to change. The type of change that the society embraces is determined by the dominant conditions in the social setting. For actors such as governments, cultural custodians and other stakeholders to generate any form of change, it is imperative that they embrace differing and exceptional approaches. When the ontological approach is understood relative to the factors affecting women riders in the UAE, it is possible to advance conventions that the prevailing conditions such as cultural practices and law only affect the women within the country.

Value free and value-laden axiology was to guarantee that the research encircles the subjective views, insights, or sentiments of those involved in the study. Using the value free axiology, it is only actualities and observable authenticities that are considered vital in during the research. The consideration of the truths and the thoughts of the respondents would be significant in declaring the reliability of the research results.

3.3 Research Approach

The study will operate in accordance with necessities of the deductive and inductive approaches. This is the adductive method will be important in the collecting data, analysing data and interpretation of data. The data in this approach is used in the examination of a phenomenon, the identification of themes and description of configurations, and the cohort of new or the adaptation of prevailing theories, which are subject to, tests. This is often recognized through the gathering of supplementary data.

3.4 Research Strategy

In terms of research strategy, the study incorporated a multi-strategy approach. This is an amalgamation of both the qualitative and the quantitative research strategies. The incorporation of the adductive method and the multi-strategy approach allowed for the formulation of the research questions prior to the data collection process. Using the multi-strategy approach, it became promising for the research to express the fundamental and defining conceptions in the form of idiosyncratic variables. Additionally, through this tactic, it was also conceivable for data quantification and data analysis be elaborated using tables, charts, and statistics, which are related to numbers. It became possible to include narratives with exhaustive description of the social context as a way of seizing the meaning of the society in question. The study will use the multi-strategy approach in the assessment of data. This will make it relatively easier for the researcher to engage in the development of generalizations on the relationship between different factors affecting women riders in the UAE.

3.5 Research Design

The study incorporated the analytical research design in the developing summaries and the operative data organization in ensuring an understanding of the envisioned meaning. Using the analytical research design it was easier for the research to advance reviews that could be used in data collecting from the sample. This was the only way through which the study could ensure the determination of the prevailing conditions defining affecting women riders in the UAE with respect to the variables that define the fundamental assumptions of the study. By design, this study is an analytical survey. This is because its objective is to assess the relationship between different factors affecting women riders in the UAE and its effects on their ability to engage in the sport. Moreover, the research design was analytical in nature because its aim of understanding the existing relationships between the fundamental variables, attitudes of different players and the effects emanating from the projected initiatives and inclinations advanced during the study.

3.5.1 Time horizons

The study is an analytical research that embraces both quantitative and qualitative strategies. It also incorporated the cross-sectional time horizon. This methodology to time horizons was advantageous to the analytical research design because inadequate time and resource limitation could not allow the study to be conducted over-time. There was need for cumulative data collection without any form of interference with the respondents’ environment. This was as the only methodology through which valid and computable data could be gathered in a short time. An additional benefit of this time horizon in the research was that it permitted the researcher to participate in the assessment of different variables at the same time. It was possible for the research to reflect on variables, such as age, gender, and cultural practices at the same time without the option of incurring extra costs

3.6 Data Sources and Collection Methods

During the data collection process, the study incorporated both primary and secondary data as elucidated in table 1 below. An organized and researcher administered questionnaire assisted in the data collection process. The questions in the structured survey were prearranged and standardized as a way of ensuring that there was dependability and coherence when asking the questions. These questions were designed to allow the researcher to collected data that was valid relative to the objectives and the fundamental assumptions of the study. The focal area of emphasis for these questions was in the hypothetical relationship between different factors affecting the ability of women riders in the UAE to engage in the sport.

Secondary data for the research will be derived from different literature sources. These include journals and books that focus on the women in the UAE, scientific evidence on the effects of horse riding among women. In addition, the literature will focus on cultural and religious factors affecting women horse riders in the UAE.


Table 1: Data Sources and Collection Methods

What

How

Who

Why

When

Where

Questionnaires

 

Researcher administered questionnaire

 

  • Randomly selected members of the UAE society

To gauge their perception of the factors affecting women horse riders in the UAE

March 2016

UAE

  • OBG doctors

 

 

Proving certain scientific facts mentioned in the review of literature about horse riding among women

Books

Journals

In-depth literature review

N/A

Assessing the situation of women in the UAE, scientific proof on effects of women horse riding and cultural and religious factors affecting women horse riders in the UAE

March 2016

N/A

 

3.6.1 Study Sample and Sampling Techniques

            The target population for this research was the randomly selected members of the UAE population and OBG doctors. The role of the population in the UAE was to provide their insight on the possible factors affecting women horse riders in the UAE. In addition, to their understanding of the physical formation of women, the OBG doctors will also provide an explanation on the existing facts concerning the effects of horse riding among women.

The study employed both purposive sampling and simple random sampling techniques. These approaches were used to target different segments of the target population. These were the OBG doctors and the members of the UAE society respectively. Through purposive sampling was effective in the identification of the specific OBG doctors. This is because such individuals possess essential knowledge on the existing scientific explanations on the effects of horse riding among women. In terms of sampling the member of the UAE population, simple random sampling was functional since the study was interested in collecting data from different people drawn from different backgrounds. In terms of the sample size, the population size used by the researcher was 100. Being non-probability approaches to sampling, the sample size was mainly composed of heterogeneous groups of different people. This explains why the study operated on 100 people as representatives of the diverse target population.

3.7 Data Analysis Techniques

Upon conclusion of the data collection process, data was evaluated for completion and correctness in recording responses. The main aim of data analysis is to ensure the reduction and edit accumulated data to a convenient size. This is often through the development of summaries, identification of configurations and statistical procedures. The data collected was analysed using descriptive statistics. The process of applying the descriptive statistics method in data analysis was through frequency tables and scatter diagraph graphs. The objective of using frequency tables was to offer a podium for quantifying data in the form of the numbers and percentages of those interviewed who have different views on the factors affecting women riders in the UAE. Graphs were used in the assessment frequency distribution. This was aimed at the exploration of the relationship between different factors affecting women horse riders in the UAE.

The qualitative data collected was analysed by the development of an understanding of mechanisms, measures, and outcomes. Narrative analysis in the research was a way of ensuring that connotation and context of the data was understood. This involved an understanding of the content and objective of the narrative. Using these procedures, it was moderately easier to understand the importance and the consequences of the events.

3.8 Research Ethics

The researcher acquired a letter of consent from the government of UAE. Prior to the acquisition of the letter of consent the researcher elucidated to the government of the UAE the objectives of the study and gave an declaration that data collected will be protected and handled according to the agreed upon levels of confidentiality. Furthermore, the researcher also explicated to the government of the UAE and all the respondents recruited the determination of value of the research in developing an understanding of the factors affecting women horse riders in the UAE. This was aimed at ensuring that the participants had an understanding of the wider objective of the study.

The researcher obtained consent from all participants and this meant that the respondents were conversant with their rights when partaking in the research process. According to the rights of the participants, they were allowed them to stop engaging in the interview process whenever they felt uncomfortable and incapable of proceeding with the process. In addition, the respondents were given the right to discretion, the right to voluntary contribution, right to reverence of privacy through the obscurity section. Additionally, the respondents also had the right to accept of the use of the data collected from them. All the data collected was securely kept in the computer and secured using passwords. The data was not published and was to be damaged upon the conclusion of the study.

In this study’s ethics test the researcher recorded 100%.

3.9 Research Limitation

The use of the quantitative approach limits the capacity of the researcher to gather immeasurable data including variables such as feelings of the participants whose role may be vital in improving the objective of the study.

It is likely for the questions in the questionnaire to be prejudiced towards a particular perspective thereby limiting the impartiality of the study.

3.10 Summary

In terms of research methodology, the study embraced the analytic research type to help in establishing a causal relationship between different factors that affect women horse riders in the UAE. In terms of research paradigm, the research used intepretivism to help in identifying the relationship between the perception of the women, in the UAE, the government and the male population in the country industry. The subjectivist ontology stressed on the importance understanding the opinions of the social actors in context. Through the axiology that incorporated both value free and value laden methodologies provided a platform of engaging in varieties of subjective and objective research. This enabled the use of personal opinion and facts in the development of its findings. Through the quantitative strategy, the study applied simple random sampling and purposive sampling and techniques in identifying the appropriate sample size from the target population. The target population included the OBG doctors and members of the UAE society. The participants were selected to represent the entire population of the UAE while the OBG doctors represented professionals in the realm of science. Data analysis was performed using descriptive statistics to permit the documentation of common features, characteristics and in the development of generalities from the data collected. Narrative analysis technique was used in analysing qualitative data. On matters of research ethics, the data collection process was effective through the attainment of an informed consent from the government of the UAE. Furthermore, all the participants involved were educated of their rights and the significance of the research process proceeding to their engagement in the study. This was aimed at upholding the impartiality of the research. In terms of limitations, the study could mislay its objectivity if the research questions were prejudiced. Figure 1 below designates the connection between the research questions, the objectives of the research and the questionnaire.

 

 

 

Figure 1: The association existing between the research question, research objectives, and the questionnaire

 

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Chapter 4: Discussion and Result Analysis

What is the current condition of women in UAE?

From the qualitative and quantitative data gathered by the study women play a critical role in the development of different aspects of the of the UAE community. This because there has been an increase in the population of women taking up senior material and leadership responsibilities in the private and public sector within the UAE. A possible explanation for the rise of women in the country can be associated with the provision of equal eductaion opportunities for both female and male population. Through these eductaion opportunities, women have begun venturing into academic and professional fields that were previously assumed as a preserve of the male population. In addition, wore have also become active participants in the development of platforms seeking to empower women to engage in development initiatives. From the data gathered through the questionnaires majority of the people interviewed were women. This can be used in asserting that not only does UAE have a high population of women the country also motivates its omen to engage in activities aimed at developing their professional attributes.

According to the findings, 81.7% of those interviewed were women while 18.3% of those interviewed were men. The high-level response rate can be used in asserting the improving position of women in the UAE. In addition, the high response rate can be used in validating the increasing level of women involvement in matters of national and personal development through government-aided mechanisms. Inasmuch as existing statistics from the literature review asserts that the UAE is ranked second with regard to the lowest number of working women. The increasing popularity of the rights, duties and the involvement of more women in different matters related to the development of the country have been perceived as essential contributors to an increase in the population of women participating in national building.

Gender:

Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

Male

18.3%

21

Female

81.7%

94

answered question

115

skipped question

0

Table 2.0: Gender distribution of the respondents
Figure 1.0 Gender distribution of the respondents

Out of those interviewed, 33% participated in horse riding as either a hobby of for professional purposes while 65.2% did not participate in horse riding. This can be used in explaining the relatively low uptake of this sporting activity. Part of the reasons for the low participation especially among women can be attributed to the failure by the government and other national stakeholders to encourage its citizens into participating in the sport. This reduced the popularity of the sport while at the same time denying potential talents within the country the ability to improve on their sporting capacities.

Do you participate in horse riding either as a hobby or professionally?

Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

Yes

33.9%

39

No

65.2%

75

answered question

115

skipped question

0

Table 3.0 Percentage of those participating in horse riding
Figure 2.0 Percentage of those participating in horse riding

According to findings from the literature review, the government of the UAE is a proud supporter of different sporting activities with football being perceived as the most popular sport. In addition, horse riding has also been identified as a traditional sport in the country, being an international leader in this sport the country has been an active participant in advocating for its inclusion in the Olympic Games. Inasmuch as the government of the UAE perceives itself active in the development of these sporting activities, members of the society have a different opinion concerning their involvement in this sport. It is possible that the government has been developing strategies on how to develop and ensure an overwhelming acceptance for horse riding among its citizens. However, the percentage of the population interested in horse riding as a profession or in the form of a hobby is relatively low. This can be attributed to low-level awareness of the differences in the demands of the social classes that participate in this activity. 

From the interviews, about 85.8 % of the population believe that allowing and encouraging women to participate in horse riding will help in the promotion of the equine industry in the UAE. This is an indication that the low number of women participating in this sporting activity can be associated with limited efforts by the government and other stakeholders to advocate for the participation of women in horse riding. Through limited empowerment, it becomes relatively difficult for interested women to identify with the sport and improve on their ability to become active participants. This is an indication that there is need for the government and other stakeholders within the UAE to develop systems, which not only accommodate interested women riders but also provide a competitive platform of engaging these women in the sport. An introduction of such programs will increase the number of women engaging in the sport but also improve on the overall level of interest in horse riding.

Do you believe that allowing and encouraging women to participate in horse riding will help promote the equine industry in the UAE?

Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

Yes

85.8%

97

No

14.2%

16

answered question

113

skipped question

2

Table 4.0. Percentage of those willing to allow women to engage in horse riding
 
 
Figure 3.0 Percentage of those willing to allow women to engage in horse riding

An additional contributor to the seemingly low number of women engaged in horse riding can be attributed to the prevailing societal situation in the UAE concerning women. This has led to the creation of stereotypical connotations regarding the roles and position of women within this society. There exits difficulty that women, just as their male counterparts have the right of engaging in horse riding and the fact that they cannot be barred from engaging in horse riding. The discrepancies and the difficulties involved have often generated more complexities hence contributing to low interest and involvement of women.

Equine sports has been perceived as a preserve of the wealthy members of the society. In the UAE, a portion of the population represents such people and this can also be used as an explanation of the low population of individual members of the society interested in the sport. Low population of members of the UAE participating in horse riding confirms the findings in the literature review that it is rare for women to be involved in the sport. There have been efforts by filmmakers such as Hanan Al Muhari to create a place with a link between the greatest horses in the UAE and the future of horse riding. The main objective of the filmmaker was to produce a documentary focusing and reflecting on the truths regarding horse riding among women in the UAE. The documentary also busted the existing misconceptions in the UAE society regarding horse riding among women.

What is the scientific effect of horse riding on women?

Form the literature review the concept of virginity forms an essential part of the scientific assumptions relating the population of women horse riders in the UAE. Women in the UAE often limit their level of participation in horse riding for the fear of losing anatomy related concerns while participating in the rigorous and physically demanding activity. From a scientific perspective, the hymen, which has traditionally been perceived as an indication of virginity among women, does not have any biological functions. In fact, there are women who do not engage in strenuous physical activities but their hymens separate due to unidentified reasons. From the data collected in the interview process indicates that most of the people who hold on to the belief that hymen serve an important role in proving the virginity of a woman does not have scientific evidence to back their claims. This explains why 53% of those interviewed argued that they were not aware that other physical sporting activities such as football posed the same if not more amount of risk of damaging a woman’s hymen just as horse riding while 47% claimed that they were aware.

Are you aware that other physical sports poses the same (if not more) amount of risk of damaging a woman’s hymen (loss of virginity) as horse riding?

Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

Yes

47.0%

54

No

53.0%

61

answered question

115

skipped question

0

Table 5.0 Populating aware of the damages caused to the hymen by physical sporting activities
Figure 4.0 Populating aware of the damages caused to the hymen by physical sporting activities

The perspective presented by this finding can also be used in asserting that majority of the population which claims that women should be denied an opportunity of engaging in horse riding are largely ignorant of the benefits of engaging women in equine sport. Instead, their arguments are based on cultural and religious beliefs in the UAE, which undermine the place and the role of women.

Existing scientific evidence form the literature review suggests that horse riding among women can result in the break of the hymen. This is because just as any athletic sport such as horse riding requires the stretching of the body in a strenuous manner from the interviews conducted, 40.9% of those interviewed believe that women should be supported to participate in any other active physical sports such as football, swimming, gymnastics or cycling. About 47.8% believe that women should be encouraged into engaging in such active sports but with restrictions while 11.3% believe that women should never be allowed to engage in such sporting activities.

Do you support women participating in any other active physical sports, such as football, gymnastics, swimming or cycling?

Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

Yes, unconditionally

40.9%

47

Yes, but with restrictions

47.8%

55

No

11.3%

13

answered question

115

skipped question

0

Table 6.0 support for women to engage in physical sports
Figure 5.0 support for women to engage in physical sports

Those who support the engagement of women in physical sporting activities 23.6% argue that women must only participate in physical sports as a hobby while 87.3% argue that female athletes can only participate in female only sporting activities and events. Furthermore, 12.7% argue that female athletes must always be under the supervision by a male family member. The arguments postulates by those advocating for the partition of women in physical sporting activities as a hobby understand that there are underlying health benefits associated with engagement in such activities for both male and the female population.

If you chose “Yes, but with restrictions” in the earlier question, which of the following conditions best describes your opinion:

Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

Women must only  participate in physical sports as a hobby

23.6%

13

Female athletes can only participate in female-only sports organizations and events

87.3%

48

Female athletes must always be under the supervision of a male family member

12.7%

7

Other (please specify)

4

answered question

55

skipped question

60

Table 7.0 The restriction necessary when allowing women to engage in physical sport
Figure 6.0 The restriction necessary when allowing women to engage in physical sport

According to existing scientific evidence, horse riding has numerous essential benefits, which include the stimulation of equilibrium and righting reactions. In addition, it also helps in the normal adjustments and fixation of posture. These are proven scientific benefits that those who deny the involvement of women in sporting activities do not understand. From the interview response on engaging women in physical sporting activities, majority argue that they should only be involved in female only sports. Inasmuch as this contributes to their physical wellbeing from a scientific perspective, it denies them the opportunity of collaborating with the male population as a technique of advancing their sporting capabilities. Limited knowledge on the relevance in improving the health of members of the society explains why about 11.3% of those interviewed denied that women should be allowed to engage in any sporting activity at all.

From the quantitative study, about 34.8% of those interviewed believe that the risk of damaging the hymen can be used as a justification for not encouraging women to participate in horse riding. About 42.6% do not agree with this assumption while 22.6% of those interviews were not aware of the risk posed by women engagement in horse riding.

Do you believe that the risk of damage to the hymen (loss of virginity) justifies not encouraging women participating in horse riding?

Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

Yes

34.8%

40

No  

42.6%

49

I was not aware of the risk

22.6%

26

Table 8.0 Risk of damage to the hymen (loss of virginity) justifies not encouraging women participating in horse riding
Figure 7.0 Risk of damage to the hymen (loss of virginity) justifies not encouraging women participating in horse riding

These findings suggest that the population in the UAE is divided in terms of their understanding of the concept of virginity, its loss and its relevance to the society. Virginity among the female population plays an essential role in the determination of their moral worth in the society. Parts of these assumptions are based on existing scientific evidence that an intense physical activity that involves stretching of muscles contributes to the breakage of the hymens hence the loss of virginity. One way by which the community of scientists can help the women in the UAE to encourage their involvement in Equine sports is through the creation of awareness on the biological role of hymen in the body. This approach to awareness creation will increase the chances that more members of the society will acquire scientific knowledge on matter related to equine sports and its benefits to the female population while at the same time providing an explanation on the essence of encouraging women to engage in different sporting activities..

Increasing the number of members of the UAE society who believe that women should be allowed to participate in different sporting activities is essential in improving the popularity of the sport across both genders. Furthermore, using the scientific approach as a platform of advocating for the eradication of existing stereotypical connotations regarding equine sport and engagement in physical activities amongst women will also contribute to the development of a female population that is empowered and informed on the benefits of the sport. Out of the population interviewed,  49.6% believe that women should be allowed to ride horses regularly and unconditionally while 44.3% believe that women should be allowed to ride horses but with restrictions. Furthermore, 6.1% of the population believe that women should never be allowed to ride horses regularly.

Do you agree with women riding horses regularly?

Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

Yes, unconditionally

49.6%

57

Yes, but with restrictions  

44.3%

51

No  

6.1%

7

Table 9.0 Women riding horses regularly
Figure 8.0 Women riding horses regularly

From these findings, 93.9% hold the belief that women should be allowed to engage in horse riding as a regular activity. This is an indication of the existence of an overwhelming support for women in the UAE irrespective of the existing conditions that define their level of involvement in the sport.  From the population supporting the involvement of women in horse riding there are however individuals who argue that their participation must be guided by specific guidelines as a way of limiting the possibility of acting against perceived laws and existing scientific practices. From the data collected on those supporting the involvement of women in regular horse riding activities but with restrictions, about 8.0% argue that female riders can only engage in this activity under the supervision of a male member of the family. Despite the perceived disadvantage with relation to level of freedom, it also provides some sense of security among women and a guarantee that the society is concerned with their wellbeing.

About 66.7% believe that the involvement of women in regular horse riding can only be done in female only equestrian centres. About 13% of the population believe that women riders can only participate in horse riding on a non-professional level. The findings also revealed that 5.3% of the population interviewed believed that only married women who could participate in horse riding. From a scientific perspective, those who hold the belief that only married women should participate in horse riding argue that they have the experience of operating in an environment characterized by the complexities of life and family morals. Majority of those interviewed believed that regular engagement in horse riding among women should only be done in female only equestrian centres. This aims at the promotion of the sports while at the same time reserving the dignity of women by limiting their exposure to rigorous activities and the public domain. From a scientific perspective, this does not limit the possibility that these women will interfere with their anatomy; instead, they will experience improvement in term of their physical, psychological and social health. This is important for the wellbeing of women horse riders because it provides them with a platform of engaging in the sporting activity while at the same time contributing to their physical wellbeing.

If you chose “Yes, but with restrictions” in the earlier question, which of the following conditions best describes the restrictions that should be implemented (select as many as you wish):

Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

Female riders must be under supervision of a male family member

8.0%

6

Female riders can only participate in female-only equestrian riding centers, organizations, and events

66.7%

50

Female riders must only take part in the sport on a non-professional level

13.3%

10

Only married women should participate in horse riding

5.3%

4

Other (please specify)

5

Table 10.0 conditions best describes the restrictions that should be implemented
Figure 9.0 conditions best describes the restrictions that should be implemented
Cultural and Religious Issues of Women Horse Riding in UAE

Just like in any Arab community, different cultural and societal aspects define the lives of women and the male population in the UAE. This is often with regard to the social conduct, sexual conduct, dressing and engaging in different social and sporting activities. From the literature review, in the UAE there is an association between honour and sexual conduct among women. A woman in this society is perceived to be sexually immoral if she breaks her undesirable behaviour before marriage. The need to preserve the honour of the female population explains why there is an opposition in the UAE against women engaging in horse riding. For the male population in the UAE the hymen serves an important role in determining the eligibility of women for the purpose of marriage. One of the elements that contribute to intense opposition of women horse riding is the dressing that is used by riders. According to the findings from the interviews, 57.4% of those interviewed believe that the horse riding dress code can affect women riding in the UAE while 42.6% believe that it does not affect women horse riding.

Do you believe that the horse riding dress code can affect women riding in the UAE?

Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

Yes

57.4%

66

No

42.6%

49

Table 11.0 horse riding dress code can affect women riding in the UAE
Figure 10.0 horse riding dress code can affect women riding in the UAE

Dress code among women in the UAE serves an essential role in protecting and maintaining their dignity within the society. Engaging in horse riding will require women to abandon their expected dress code and change into that which is considered revealing a disgrace to the women. In addition, the fitting nature of the horse riding dress code also affects the ability of women to protect themselves from the possible loss of virginity. In the UAE, sexuality is defined by among other elements nature of dressing and the type of activities that females choose to associate with. The slight increasing in percentage of population in the UAE denying the involvement of women in horse riding activities can be associated with an increase in the number of women physically affected by engaging in intense sporting activities. Despite this increase, there exists an overwhelming support for women involvement in Equine sports as part of enhancing the culture of the sport and it competitive level among members of the UAE.

The findings from the interviews indicate that 44.3% of those interviewed would allow women to engage in regular riding of horses but with certain restrictions. In the UAE, women are considered delicate as glasses that if broken cannot be repaired. There is need to institute measures that will protect these women against different societal aspects. Out of those advocating for regular participation of women in sporting activities, figure 10.0, 8.0% argue that a male family member must accompany female riders. The main objective of this restriction is to limit the possibility that the female members will stray from horse riding into other activities that may affect her moral worth. About 66.7% argue that women should engage in regular horse riding when they can only participate in female only equestrian centres. This is aimed at ensuring that women do not stray from female related issues that define their engagement in the sport. Furthermore, from the interview, 13.3% believe that women should only take part in the sport on a non-professional capacity. This belief is founded on an understanding that professional horse riding is physically demanding for the women and this may necessitate an involvement in strenuous activities, which increase the probability that these women will be physically affected by the sport. About 5.3% of those interviewed argues that only married women should participate in horse riding. This is because such women already have the experience of managing different aspects that define equine sport in the UAE. Their engagement in horse riding does not affect their position and place as women in the UAE. Other than the dress code, engaging married women in the sport can help in boosting the level of acceptance and popularity among women in the country.

The UAE is a male dominated society. Men in the UAE are perceived as superior to the woman and that it is there responsbility to formulate laws and policies aimed at protecting the weaker gender from engaging in activities that may shame the society. Findings from the literature review indicates that women from the UAE who are interest in horse riding often face issues regarding loss of verity which in this society is a major component of the society and for the reputation of the woman. Existing laws demand high level of protection of women from any factor that will increase in the probability of losing their moral worth. Women in this society are therefore hesitant to participate in horse riding considering that engaging in activities that threaten their self-esteem and social wellbeing contribute to the reduction of their worth as valuable members of the society. The male dominated society in the UAE therefore denies women the freedom of engaging in different sporting and leisure activities for the protection of the reputation of the society. Through such denial it becomes relatively impossible for these women to engage in exploratory activities and this explains why despite the perceived consideration of horse riding as a traditional sport in the UAE, the sport is still relatively unpopular among majority of the members. Furthermore, it has been considered as a preserve of a few wealthy men while ignoring majority poor members who are interested in the sport.

From a cultural perspective, women in the UAE have been perceived as relatively weak beings that must be provided with protection and guidance by a male family member. This explains why while advocating for the involvement of women in matters horse riding about 8.7% of those interviewed argued that women could only experience success in horse riding if they were in the company of a male family member. This approach to protecting women is based on the understanding that women horse riders need the guidance and protecting of men with regard to engaging in outdoor activities. However, in the company of a male family member, the woman will be guided and protected in accordance with the law. This can be perceived as a discouraging aspect for women horse riders because the involvement of male family members denies them the opportunity of freely engaging in equine sport without the fear of unwanted scrutiny. From the findings, about 33.9% of those interviewed participated in horse riding as a hobby or as professional while 65.2% did not participate in horse riding.

Do you participate in horse riding either as a hobby or professionally?

Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

Yes

33.9%

39

No

65.2%

75

Table 12.0 Do you participate in horse riding either as a hobby or professionally
Figure 11.0 Do you participate in horse riding either as a hobby or professionally

The relatively low number of people engaged in this sport is an indication that women are less concerned with their engagements in the sport due to existing societal barriers, which deny them the opportunity of active participating in horse riding as hobby or at competitive levels. The decision on which sporting activity for women in the UAE is therefore not determined by the desires and interests of the women but on the existing societal norms that dictate the way of life of different people within the society.

Despite the existing cultural and traditional barriers, there is an increase in the level of support for women riders in the UAE. From the data gathered through the interviewing process, about 63.5% of those interviewed have family members and friends who are females are active participants in horse riding as a hobby or professionally while 36.5% do not have such friends. This is an indication that despite the stringent societal norms, there are women who consider horse riding as an essential component of their sporting life.

Do you have family or friends who are female and actively participate in horse riding either as a hobby or professionally?

Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

Yes

63.5%

73

No

36.5%

42

Table 13.0 Family or friends who are female and actively participate in horse riding either as a hobby or professionally

Furthermore, the findings in Table 9.0 indicate that 49.6% of those interviewed also agree that women just like their male counterparts should be allowed to unconditionally engage in horse riding while 44.3% agree that women should be allowed to participate in the sport but with certain restrictions. The support is an indication that there is an increase in the level of awareness on the essence of horse riding among women in the society. These restrictions are meant to ensure that women do not violate existing societal norms and that the activities defining the sport are tailored in accordance with the existing laws and norms.

Conclusion

There is a large population of females in the UAE and a number of females have been showing willingness in the sports activity of horse riding as a profession or out of habit. However, the society is aware of certain scientific effects horse riding for women due to which the population of women horse riding remains considerably low because horse riding results in virginity loss. Despite the relatively low population of female members engaged in horse riding there is a gradual increase in the support that society continues to receive with regard to the involvement of women in the sport. Part of this success can be associated with an increase in knowledge concerning the essence of this sport to the wellbeing of women and the male members of the society.

From a general perspective, the role played by women in the society of UAE has expanded gradually since the oil had been discovered. In the current society, the provision of equal eductaion opportunities for both the male and female population has increased the involvement of women in both private and public sectors. According to the existing statistics, UAE holds the second rank in terms of lowest population of working women. Despite this ranking, an increase in the population of informed women provides a platform of understanding and engaging in different sporting activities such as horse riding. Furthermore, active engagement of women in different activities within the UAE contributes to a reduction in the existing stereotypes and the possibility of developing a relatively liberal UAE for the women.

From the scientific perspective, horse riding results has both positive and negative effects on women. In women equine sport can result in the breakage of the hymen if the body stretches in a strenuous manner. On other occasions, it has been identified that there can be separation of hymen due to no reason at all as well. Despite this scientific evidence, hymen has been identified as the most controversial element in the anatomy of female, even though not every woman has hymens at birth. In the process of determining the extent to which women involvement in horse riding, it is important to consider certain health benefits by horse riding for men as well as women. Horse riding helps has numerous health benefits. In the overall context, horse riding has a major impact on the entire body and there are certain misconceptions and stereotypes about horse riding for women, which deter them from active engagement in the sport.

From the findings of the study, it is noticeable that there is seemingly low interest among women in the UAE concerning their engagement in horse riding. Part of this low interest can be attributed to limited awareness on the benefits of equine sports among women. This has become a major impediment to the ability of engaging in horse riding. For the country to realize any form of improvement in terms of the population of women engaging in this sport, there is need to tailor make the sport in a such a way that it fits with the norms of the UAE society. This will not only alter the approach given to the sport by the society but it will also act as an empowerment platform for women to embrace the sport as a hobby or as a profession. An involvement of women in horse riding can only be possible through the incorporation of different stakeholders.  It is the responsbility of governing institutions in the UAE to ensure the introduction of measures advocating for the interests of women. This approach to encouraging women engagement in the sport will not only improve on their levels of self-esteem but also improve on the willingness and interest among women.

The seemingly low number of the women in the UAE population interested in horse riding can be attributed to the existence of social classes within the UAE. Horse riding is demanding in terms of the cost implications making it a preserve of the minority wealthy members of the population. There is need for the government and other national stakeholders in the UAE to provide different forms of support to the sport and this would include the creation of some form of awareness aimed at popularizing this sport among women. The government of the UAE claims that horse riding is a traditional sport. One way by which the tradition can be upheld and maintained would through the involvement of more women as sign of change ad improvement to the sport. This would ensure that sport gains some level of national recognition and representation.

The role of science is to provide some form of validation and disapproval to existing customs and beliefs. From the study one of the most discouraging factors among women riders in the UAE is the desire to maintain their societal worth which is considered as the definition of their worth in the society. Engaging in physical and strenuous activities such as horse riding threatens to break the hymen among unmarried women making them ineligible for marriage. However, according to existing scientific evidence the hymen does not perform any biological function and it should be used as evidence of dignity considering that other physical activities such as football and other athletic sports contribute to the breakage of the hymen. Providing information to the community on these scientific findings will help in demystifying the stereotypical and culturally held connotations hence increasing the probability that more members of the society will be encouraged to allow women to participate in the port without the prejudice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works cited

Abd-El-Jawad, Hassan. Language and women’s place with special reference to Arabic.

Language Sciences, 11, 305-324, 1989.

Abu-Odeh, Labu. Honor Killings and the Construction of Gender in Arab Societies

American Journal of Comparative Law, 58, 911-952, 2010.

Abu-Reesheh, Z. Marriage and The Hymen [Online]. Al Ghad, 2009.

Berger, David. G. & Wenger, Morton. G. The Ideology of Virginity. Journal of Marriage and

Family, 35, 666-676, 1973.

Devers, Lindesy. & Bacon, S. Interpreting Honor Crimes: The Institutional Disregard Towards

Female Victims of Family Violence in the Middle East. International Journal of Criminology and Sociological Theory, 3, 359-37, 2010.

Ghazal, R. A horsewomen in pursuit of a vision. The National: UAE, 2009.

Saadawi, Nawal. The hidden face of Eve : women in the Arab world, London, Zed Press. 1980

Shalhoub-Kevorkian, N. Imposition of virginity testing: a life-saver or a license to kill?

Social Science & Medicine, 60 1187–1196, 2005

Toumi, H. Saudi woman horse-rider sparks online debate. Gulf News: Saudi Arabia. 2015

 

Zuhur, S. Criminal Law, Women and Sexuality in the Middle East. In: ILKKARACAN,

  1. (ed.) Deconstructing Sexuality in the Middle East: Challenges and Discourses. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008

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