Updating Results

Western Sydney University

  • 13% international / 87% domestic

Rohini Balram

This motivated me to complete a gym instruction course and assist marginalised women with exercise.

I am a PhD student at Western Sydney University; my research topic is 'Understanding Indo-Fijian women and sport: redoing gender in Fiji and in the Diaspora.' I was born in Fiji- a descendant of Indian Indentured labourers; I moved to Australia in 2010. My personal athletic quest in Fiji has been one filled with hurdles. I taught 'English' for 7 years in Fiji in high schools and witnessed the tendency of the lack of representation of Indo-Fijian girls in school sports, this was the same when I was a high school student in the mid and late 1990s. In Fiji, physicality is associated with the natives and there are presumptions that Indo-Fijian women lack physicality and athletic prowess thus these women are marginalised in terms of sports/athleticism and are the most invisible group in Fiji's sporting scenes. I have a great interest in the Indo-Fijian diaspora, diaspora studies, gender and multiculturalism and I am very passionate about giving marginalised groups a voice, where their stories can be heard in the globe. My master's dissertation was - "Means of connecting Indo-Fijian women to the imaginary homeland (India)".

I always loved running but was not provided a platform to do so in Fiji due to various socio-cultural factors. When I migrated to Australia, I started running long distances and lifting some serious weights (something I only dreamt of doing in Fiji). I got an opportunity to pursue my passion in Australia, however by that time I was already 28 years old (lost the years prime for an athlete for competitive sports) My athletic saga in Fiji has been one of pain and alienation based on gender and race. This motivated me to complete a gym instruction course and assist marginalised women with exercise and fitness and sparked my research on the role of sports in cultural and ethnic minority groups of women. With my own autoethnographic account and first-hand experience, I intend to put the stories of Indo-Fijian women on the map with no white/western voice/views.

With my PhD, I aspire to assist Indo-Fijian women in Fiji and the diaspora and other marginalised and minority groups of women in Australia in terms of equitability of opportunities available to such groups thus creating pathways for better representation of marginalised women in the sporting scenes of Fiji and the Diaspora.