Why link boxing and life skills?

Boxing is only a part of the Boxgirls programme. However, it is an important and innovative tool, among others, to reach objectives of female empowerment and social change. Boxing is not necessarily the first sport that comes to mind when thinking about women’s empowerment. But boxing stresses speed and accuracy, rhythm and good footwork.  Since it is a sport that makes you fit and fast it can create positive change for girls growing up in urban and rural areas of Kenya, and other African countries.

Boxing introduces self defence: Unlike other traditionally male sports, such as football, boxing teaches basic self defence, which can be used as an argument in favour of involving women and girls when approaching parents and community members. This is a skill that girls will come away with from a boxing programme. Not only do they learn ways to defend themselves physically, they also learn how to recognize and get out of dangerous situations or avoid a punch and not to fall down when pushed (which would put them in a more vulnerable position). Boxgirls emphasizes this aspect of the sport.

Boxing challenges gender stereotypes: Female boxing programmes take a traditionally male space and activity and allow women and girls to make it their own, where they learn the same techniques and drills. This creates a feeling of empowerment, confidence and strength without the discrimination and sexism that might occur in a traditional male gym. Girls and women not only feel physically stronger but prove that they can occupy this space and belong there just as much as the boys.

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