“Hi, I’m Zaynab, a member of Fight for Peace and a volunteer Youth Worker. I work with the Lutadoras – an all-women personal development group, I am part of the Young Creatives,  Youth Power, and support the team in delivering Homework Club to younger age groups.

I also attend boxing sessions at Fight for Peace and have been working on a Young Creatives project that aims to break down some of the barriers women and girls face in sport alongside Fight for Peace boxer and Young Creative, Ilenia.

Women in sport is a big topic which doesn’t really get spoken about. Women tend to face a lot of barriers and challenges due to stereotypes like ‘women aren’t meant to do sport,’ ‘this is a men’s only sport,’ or ‘women are too weak.’ 

This impacts women as they tend to lose confidence as these stereotypes may have an effect. They may second guess, or even doubt whether they should be doing these sports at all. That’s why we decided to reach out to the Lutadoras – to gain their ideas and perspectives of how women experience sport.

Fight for Peace boxing coach, Athena shared some barriers she has felt in the past when training in a mixed session, such as feeling as though she wasn’t given a full opportunity, and that people assumed she was there to ‘look pretty’.

This is something which should be challenged and changed. Sport is open to everyone of all genders and backgrounds, and together, we can work to resolve these issues. That’s why we have women-only boxing sessions at Fight for Peace every Tuesday and Wednesday, led by coach Athena.

Our female sessions are as great way to try boxing!

Many of the girls went on to share that going to a mixed session for the first time they felt quite awkward, but the overall environment in the gym at Fight for Peace makes it really welcoming.

Fatma, a proud member of Fight for Peace says she gained so much from the first day, such as looking and feeling healthier, as well as some of the differences between the female only and mixed sessions.

“Mixed sessions like to include everyone, and the boys understand that we’re all there for the same reasons. In the women-only sessions, it’s [a lot more] comfortable…the coach is stern, but she’s also like your friend and family.” 

It was really interesting to hear from some of the girls about their experiences. For me, my first time entering a mixed boxing session I thought to myself, ‘I shouldn’t be here,’ then I began to ease into it and it was great. Everyone was really supportive, whether it was the coaches or other people training alongside you.

There are so any benefits of boxing, and we are happy to have female sessions that are a comfortable and safe space for women to be able to transition into mixed sessions in order to break down any stereotypes and misconceptions about women taking part in sport. 

Again, sport is welcome to everyone, and we should all continue in the most positive way- because it’s clear that at Fight for Peace, we love having this community.”

Our all-women boxing sessions take place every Tuesday and Thursday with coach Athena, from 6-7pm and are free to 14-25 year olds.

This project is part of a bigger piece of work led by the Fight for Peace Young Creatives, Zaynab and Ilenia, which aims to engage more young women and girls in sport, and break down some of the barriers they face. Keep an eye out for new content on our social media including the launch of a a poster and behind the scenes content on how it was made. 

Blog author, Zaynab

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