Women’s boxing on cusp of Olympic inclusion?

// 14 July 2008

boxingmontage.jpgThe exclusion of women’s boxing from the Olympics is set to end in 2012, according to Australia’s Herald Sun.

“All the advice I’m getting is that it will be included in London,” Ted Tanner, chairman of Boxing Australia, said.

He said the international standard of female boxers is now very high and hoped the IOC decision would attract more Australian women to the sport from other martial arts and combat sports.

Tanner said the inclusion of women would help improve funding for the sport.

“I think it was old values that held women’s boxing back,” he said.

Women have to hold their own national championships this month because this year’s Australian titles will be staged in New South Wales, where female boxing is illegal.

The decision is expected next year, and would eliminate the last bastion of discrimination against women’s participation for the summer games. Of course, you may remember that controversy continues about the ban on female ski jumpers participating in the winter games.

Yey for the 30,000 women who box competitively all over the world, and may see their horizons edge just that little bit wider next year.

Photo from Women’s Boxing Archive Network

Comments From You

batty // Posted 15 July 2008 at 1:22 pm

There are no words for how happy this has made me!!!!!!!!!!

Did you know I tried to join a local archery club? They were running a plea in the local newspaper, about how the sport was dying and how they needed more members to keep the club open. Fantastic, I thought, I love Archery, I’ll join. I was turned away. Why? I’m a women. I swore at them very loudly, told them they were a bunch of sexist pigs, and if they were going to be that openly discriminitive and ban one half of the human race for no good reason their little boys club deserved to die a death with the stone age.

Sorry that was a little off point, but I see no reason for sexism in sports. (well in any part of life, but sports should be a level playing field for all, dependent only on physical ability)

And, seriously, female boxing is illegale in New South Wales? err why? What the hell is the justification for that?

Laurel Dearing // Posted 15 July 2008 at 4:46 pm

archery? thats bizarre! if anything that sort of non-contact skill-based sport is one of the things id be happy seeing mixed teams compete in.

what was their argument? youre no more likely to hurt yourself as a woman. how utterly ridiculous

Mark Headey // Posted 15 July 2008 at 5:22 pm

Some years ago I remember hearing a man discussing women’s participation in sport. He’d grown up in the pre-WW2 period when women were banned from running marathons because medical opinion stated AS A FACT that the uterus could be moved and damaged by the “pounding” along the roads. He said that, even at that tender age, he was sceptical that the human body was quite that fragile.

batty // Posted 15 July 2008 at 5:33 pm

It was something to do with ‘traditon’ and ‘long standing history’ I slammed the phone down, it’s just the same old story isn’t it?

Laurel Dearing // Posted 15 July 2008 at 9:15 pm

so having equal rights is beaten by tradition? im surprised we arent still giving human sacrifices for traditions sake

Tam // Posted 6 April 2009 at 3:13 am

Oh my god i really hope this goes through for the 2012 london olympics! i was one of the female boxers in NSW who fort for the law to be changed so hopefully this is next.! its an old sex and discriminative rule. if they can have taekwondo (however you spell it) and for christ sakes HANDBALL why not this?!!

Ellie // Posted 6 April 2009 at 4:18 pm

excellent news, hopefully it will inspire more women and girls to take up the sport. it’s a bit intimidating being the only female in the gym to start with, and it helps if you can have someone of a matched weight to spar with.

Rosa // Posted 1 May 2009 at 1:01 am

Today I was looking up martial arts websites for women. Don’t ask me why, but I’ve always liked martial arts and have my heart set on taking classes one day when I overcome my disability (touch wood!)

While I was looking up websites though, I came across many martial arts classes that were aimed at “men only” and even one website called The Journal of Manly Arts. Like Batty’s experience, some of these “men only” classes were no contact sports and used tradition as an excuse to exclude women. They also seemed to see teaching “manliness” as an intricate part of what the martial arts is about.

After that, because I was pissed off, I decided to google “women and martial arts”; “martial arts feminism”; and “martial arts feminist.” Surely I’d find *some* like minded people blogging or talking somewhere…

There was hardly anything!

Given how many barriers women face when wanting to train in martial arts and how much men use martial arts as a stage to strut and invoke their favorite fantasies of masculinity, I’m amazed at how little women martial artists and feminists have picked up and written about it. Especially when you keep in mind all the gendered and racial connotations a discipline like martial arts carries.

I did, however, find forums where men talked about “feminist martial arts” but I wish I hadn’t.

Talk about patriarchy and macho a-go-go.

When women are given a space in martial arts, the focus tends to heavily lean on “self-defense” as if women couldn’t possibly be interested in, oh, I don’t know, applying themselves to a sport like men do.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for women learning to defend themselves, but looking at these websites it struck me that the message was that a woman who wants to defend herself is welcome, but leave the REAL talent and sport to the men.

I decided to come here (my favorite feminist website, by the way :)) and do a search. I found this little article and thought I’d leave a comment even if it is a bit off-topic.

Wisrutta Atthakor // Posted 1 May 2009 at 12:34 pm

Rosa – Yes, it is such a shame that there is so much macho bullshit associated with martial arts. What a lot of ‘psycho’, macho martial artists tend to forget is that the essence of a lot of (if not all) martial arts is not just about who can throw the hardest punch or kick, but that it is also about personal development. I do both karate and muay thai (Thai boxing) not because of self-defence, although it certainly helps, but because of the martial arts themselves.

In fact, in karate there is a huge element of respect for ourselves and others. In both martial arts, one is taught to respect teachers and others. Unfortunately, traditionally in muay thai there are stupid superstitions against women but I’m not going to go into that here … a lot of muay thai fighters are beginning to accept that women are just as capable and ‘valid’ fighters.

It’s rubbish that the martial arts domain, like anything that is traditionally predominantly seen as a men’s only domain, is rife with sexism and misogyny, but there are definitely martial arts clubs and schools out there that are open to all, and not just as a ‘self-defence’ thing for women. I am really glad I have been lucky enough to find 2 of those (1 for karate and 1 for muay thai) in Edinburgh. In fact, one of my karate senseis (teacher) is a woman who is a 2nd dan karate-ka (2nd level black belt) and has been doing karate since she was about 12 and she’s shit hot! So keep looking! There are good clubs out there, but unfortunately, they are a bit difficult to find amongst all the shite you get. But once found, they are well worth it, I can assure you!

CMK // Posted 1 May 2009 at 6:17 pm

I’m really surprised by the martial arts comments. I was involved with MA’s for ten years and probably haven’t come across a more welcoming or open environment for both men and women.

The nature of the class was always seniority based upon your technical skills, not how many boards you could break. Most Martial Artist’s that are genuinely MA’s would be stunned by the comments above.

I suspect that many of the schools causing these problems are of the McDojo variety where they have as much to do with Martial Arts as Street Fighting does with Boxing…. i.e. one has a philosophy, technique, style and ethics, one doesn’t!

I really hope you keep trying because there are good schools out there, the best place to start is the price, if they’re charging a fortune the chances are they are only interested in your money….

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