"We are the weak ones": Self-narratives of young urban women in a sport-for-development project in Brussels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


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 “Sport for Development” (SFD) programmes focus on individual and social development within a multicultural society. Now it appears that the scientific results of these programmes are not unequivocally positive and mostly include (young) men and boys. BC Foyer Molenbeek is one such 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 women consider important and at the same time to empower them: “Which elements are represented in the self-narratives of the young women 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 everyday discrimination they have to face in a so-called “post-racial” and “post-feminist” society. In addition, theoretical expectations of SFD programmes do not always correspond with 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-90
Number of pages10
JournalCriminological Encounters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2019


  • Young urban Women
  • Sport-for-development
  • Brussels
  • Self-narratives
  • Everyday discrimination

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