On the 28th November, IFMA attended the Asia- Pacific Commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women at Unite Nations ESCAP in Bangkok, Thailand. The opening address was delivered by Dr Shamshad Akhtar, Under-Secretary General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of ESCAP.
IFMA Sport Director Mrs Tynan stated that,” Violence against women and girls is a problem that permeates every level of society and not only affects the victims but society as a whole so much so that it has a direct effect on a nation’s productivity and GDP. The price of no change is simply unacceptable. As an International Sport Federation, we have the ability to reach millions of young athletes through our 130 member National Federations. IFMA seeks to capitalize on that by implementing educational programmes and activities into the training syllabus as well as holding workshops during events. Thereby, we hope to contribute to making a change through educating and instilling a mindset in our athletes that violence against women and girls is simply not ok, and that it is everyone’s problem to fight. ”
In IFMA there is a saying, ” the only time you look down on someone is when you are helping them get back on to their feet”. The sport of muaythai is governed by the 5 pillars, that teach respect, honour and FairPlay. Values that are so deeply embedded in the sport that now is embedded in the youth and the practitioners. Furthermore, it is in IFMA’s constitution that women make make up a minimum on 30% of the entire executive board not only in the IFMA executive level , but also across national federations. IFMA has made it mandatory for all national federations to bring a female team to all competitions and national federations that struggle to do so are given special attention for the issues to be solved or mitigated; NFs that simply do not comply are sanctioned. IFMA conducts special gender quality workshops at all events and includes a gender equality segment within the education curriculum.
IFMA Social Responsibility Director Ms Pamei stated that, ” An effective way to reach gender equality is through the empowerment of women, that is why in IFMA we have special efforts in the promotion on women within sport, the organization as a whole and through our social initiatives. ” IFMA has social projects across over 70 national federations that include ones that empower young girls and specially catered to the problems in the region, the FEM Project (Female Empowerment through Muaythai), Sweden’s Frysbox and TWP (the Women’s Project) in Mexico to name a few. Each of these projects driven by inspirational women like IFMA Vice President and Oceania President Sue Glassey, former champion Pernilla Johansson and philanthropist and Pan-American President Elisa Salinas respectively.
IFMA continues its collaboration with UN Women on the UNiTE to End Violence Against Women campaign, using sport as a tool to bringing awareness and education on the issue and matters of gender equality.