"We are the Weak Ones": Self-narratives of Young Urban Women in a Sport-For-Development Project in Brussels


  • Jasmien Bougrine Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  • An Nuytiens Vrije Universiteit Brussel


Young people from Brussels are often considered a homogeneous group and associated with a negative connotation. Nowadays one way to mobilize these young people is through social sports projects. These ‘sports for development’ (SFD) programs focus on individual and social development within a multicultural society. Now it appears that the scientific results of these programs are not unequivocally positive and especially aimed at (young) men and boys. BC Foyer Molenbeek is such a project with this special feature that it focuses exclusively on girls and young women. It concerns a group that is both socially and scientifically invisible. The following research question has been decided upon to discover what these urban girls consider important and at the same time to empower them: 'Which elements are represented in the self-narratives of the girls of BC Foyer Molenbeek? Through a participant-oriented, open and bottom-up research approach, we wanted to gain insight into these women's stories and empower them at the same time. Their self-narratives seemed of undeniable value as they showed us the importance of not only recognizing but also acknowledging this group and the experienced and everyday discrimination they have to face in a so-called post-racial and post-feminist society. In addition, theoretical expectations of SFD-programs do not always correspond with the practice; depending on an internal (within the club) or external (contact as a member with the outside world) frame, some of the goals are reached, others are absent or even experienced in the opposite way.






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