Female empowerment through Muaythai: Female Muaythai Meetings in South America

The implementation of the position and role of a Female Commission representative (FCR) into each IFMA National Federation has increased the number of females that have or have the potential to have power in decision making in each country. In South America, Argentina and Peru are leading the way in connecting with our female stakeholders.

Since December 2015 Romina Arana, Female Commission Representative and General Secretary of Federación Argentina de Muaythai, has been working tireless on the development of the “Female Muaythai Meetings”. This gathering model aims to embrace the principles and values of the joint UN Women, World Muaythai Council (WMC) and IFMA “End Violence Against Women (EVAW) campaign by offering an only for women space to women regardless experience, a safety space in which they can get involved into Muaythai and have the opportunity to build self-esteem, confidence, get informed on how to prevent gender violence and, of course, have Muaythai training. The Female Meeting is not a competition, is a day for sharing.

The meeting is divided in two parts. First one includes a healthy lunch, a lecture on gender violence prevention, and feedback of experiences. The second one is the muaythai technical exchange designed depending on participants experience. Experienced athletes do sparring. For beginners, a female instructor/teacher give them appropriate exercises to learn and enjoy.

4 Female Muaythai meetings have been run in 3 different cities and the goal is to go all over the country building a network with Muaythai Clubs to strengthen not only Female Muaythai but also Gender Equity.

Thanks to her commited work, Mrs. Arana was recently elected as Chair of Female Commission for the Argentinian Sports Confederation. She stated: “It is a great honor for me to be appointed. This is thanks to the work we have been doing with IFMA Female Commission in Argentina, and this will open the path for other sports in the country to follow the example of Muaythai work towards gender equity. Is also an opportunity to give back to sport as much as sport has gave me”.

In Peru, our Female Commission Representative Luna Tobin ran the first Peruvian female meeting with 50 women and girls attending. Some travelling over 8 hours by bus just to attend. This is the first time female fighters, coaches and judges, from different academies around Peru will gather to share experiences of their Muaythai lifestyle. The goal of the event was to help the growth of Muaythai in Peru and to provide female fighters with increased opportunities to advance in their practice of Muaythai through the development of a tighter community of women and girls dedicated to Muaythai.

The meetings in both South American countries also included a showing of videos of leading female Muaythai fighters and leaders from around the world like Gina Carano, Sue Glassey, Ingrid Jost, Nili Block, Antonina Shevchenko, Romina Arana, Luanda Smith, Marcela Soto and Tiffany Van Soest.

We are sure that this hard work is only the beginning, and that more IFMA National Federations will join the IFMA Female Muaythai Meetings!

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