The sport and exercise experiences of physically disabled women in Iran: shame, stereotyping, and Goffman’s Stigma

Mohammad Sadegh Afroozeh, Catherine Phipps, Ali Afrouzeh, Zahra Alipour Asiri, Hamidreza Safarijafarlou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To date, there is a scarcity of research in Iran exploring disabled women’s sport and exercise experiences. However, it is evident that widespread challenges exist for disabled people to participate in daily life on an equal basis to their non-disabled counterparts. Using sixteen interviews, our research aimed to explore the intersecting identities of disability and gender in Iranian women’s sport and exercise participation, using Goffman’s theory of stigma and the social model of disability. Our findings suggest numerous environmental barriers to participation. As traditional gender beliefs still prevail in Iran, this often created a ‘double disadvantage’ for women. Both enacted and affiliate stigma were highlighted by interviewees, with negative perceptions around disability internalised, resulting in self-exclusion from sport and exercise spaces and disempowering elements to their participation. This research adds to the literature on sport/exercise and disability, focusing on Iranian women’s voices which are largely absent from the current literature.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDisability and Society
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2024

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