This is not about male versus female. Or about who is stronger, faster or smarter. Too often in life, work or sport it becomes about battle of the sexes. Pay gaps, gender equality and domestic violence are just some of the symptoms of the unbalanced society we live in. Addressing it, is not about male bashing or about giving females dibs over men. Establishing a gender equal society is a much more complex issue that involves change driven from all levels, gender, demographics and ages. One important way to support the momentum of change is by empowering women. To help them realize that they are their own kind of strong, their own kind of awesome and their own kind of unique woman.
The Macquarie Dictionary defines ’empower’ as: to cause (a person or group of people) to feel confident and in control of their own life: to empower women.
Here, I have to diverge from the Macquaries definition . I believe personal empowerment is not handed to you or caused. It is not a gift that is wrapped up with a bow or delegated to you. Empowerment is something that you have to take for yourself. It cannot be denied to you, because it comes from within you.
Do you think anybody told UFC fighter Ronda Rousey that she was now empowered? Did anybody say to female Aussie rules footballer Daisy Pearce that she was allowed to be in control of her career and be the best? Nope. They just did it. Just the same as every female should do. They need to decide, who or what they want to be and do it, because no one will do it for them.
One way that females can feel empowered and confident in themselves is to feel good about their physical self. By eating a balanced diet (that included a well deserved treat or drink) and squeezing in a few workouts a week, you will start to feel strong, healthy and happy. One one of the best ways to feel empowered through fitness is boxing.
Boxing is one of the ultimate ways for women to feel strong and confident. Boxing can be a tough and brutal sport at a competitive level. But for most women, hitting a bag, working the pads or even just light sparring has to be one of the most empowering activities they can do.
Not only does boxing help you get super fit and tone the body. It is completely brilliant at burning fat and improving cardiovascular health. Boxing improves your strength which is not only fab for the body, but one of the things that can contribute to the feeling of confidence and power. So it’s fair to say that physical benefits are amazing and contribute to an overall sense of health and fitness that improves sense of self.
The other way that boxing can contribute to the empowerment of women is through mental and emotional health. Boxing is an awesome stress-reliever. With every punch, cortisol levels (stress hormones) decrease and endophins (feel-happy hormones) increase. You always come away from a boxing session feeling better than when you went in. Boxing is better than therapy!
It’s incredible how the feeling of a well placed glove on a bag, or well-timed glove on a pad can contribute to a feeling of empowerment, but it does. Boxing makes you feel powerful.
At the same time as throwing out those punches though, you have to concentrate. Thinking about the combinations, thinking about defence, thinking about your next offence. Yes, boxing makes you think – a lot. Boxing makes you feel in control.
Boxing improves coordination. Concentration, repetition and building muscle memory helps to improve the way your body moves and it’s coordination. Sure when you first start, it might feel a bit weird, but with time it all starts to flow and the confidence that comes with the improvement in coordination cannot be measured. Boxing makes you feel confident in yourself.
In boxing (like any sport) you are constantly learning and improving. The gaining of knowledge and striving to improve and better yourself is a sign of confidence.
Some gyms even offer sparring for their female client’s if they feel comfortable. These are typically undertaken in a proper environment with an experienced trainer and with safety equipment. And only when the individual is ready. But there is nothing like seeing the smile on one of my client’s faces after she has been in the ring for the first time. The incredible feeling of power, strength and control that comes with facing ones fears (of being hit) is almost second to none. Just knowing that you are safe, but can engage in an activity sees you taking control of yourself, your fears and seeing how strong you can be is invaluable.
So I would encourage women who want to feel empowered, who want to feel in control of their life and themselves, to go out and find themselves a pair of gloves. Don’t use them on those that frustrate you though. Get a boxing bag, get a trainer or find a gym. And use those gloves to learn. Use those gloves to get fit. Use those gloves to take control of yourself. Use those gloves to EMPOWER yourself.