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.

Presenting a diverse range of empirical case studies, from bodybuilding in Kazakhstan and Thailand, karate in Afghanistan, and women’s rugby in Fiji to women’s soccer in North Korea and netball in Papua New Guinea, the book demonstrates how sports may be used as a lens to examine the historical, socio-cultural and political specificities of non-Western and post-colonial societies. It also explores the complex ways in which non-Western women resist as well as accommodate sport and exercise-related sociocultural oppression, helping us to better understand the nexus of sport, exercise, gender, sexuality and power in the Asia-Pacific area.

This is a fascinating and important resource for students of sports studies, sports management, sport development, social sciences and gender studies, as well as an excellent read for academics and researchers with an interest in sport, exercise, gender and post-colonial studies.

chapter 1|18 pages


Rest and the West – present absence of non-Western research

part I|54 pages

Nation-building and nationalism

chapter 3|12 pages

The politics of female football in North Korea

Socialism, nationalism and propaganda

chapter 4|12 pages

Resurgence of ethnic sports in post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan

Still hunting for women

chapter 5|12 pages

Her ‘soldiering’ on

Female athletes in combat sports negotiating Thailand’s gender politics

part II|66 pages

Sport, physical activity and empowerment

chapter 6|17 pages

‘The right way for me to do things for me’

Experiences of some Afghan women in entering and practising karate

chapter 7|19 pages

Going it alone and strong

Athletic Indo-Fijian women and everyday resistance

chapter 8|13 pages

Girls and sports in Samoa

Culture, policy and practice in urban and rural communities

chapter 9|15 pages

Discursive construction of athletic nutrition in bodybuilding

From ideology to pharmacology of the female body in Kazakhstan

part III|76 pages

Challenges, change and development

chapter 10|18 pages

Fiji’s women rugby players

Finding motivation in a ‘hostile’ environment

chapter 12|15 pages

Women’s sports in Japan

Enters a period of change

part IV|29 pages

Transnationality and globalisation

chapter 15|15 pages

Reconstructing body and mind

Narratives of health and wellbeing in self-help books from global East Asia