Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cuba says no way, India says hooray!

Cuba may not want its female citizens boxing, but Indian women, who have been stepping into the ring for a while now, are excited about showcasing their skills at the Olympics in 2012. In fact the Indian women are probably the second best in the world after the Chinese.
The benefits of boxing for Indian women are numerous but seem to center, at least according to this NYT article, on the possibility of a better life after their boxing career ends. Boxers get government jobs and housing as well as other perks. Such things mark one as middle class and many of these women came from a lower caste and specifically sought out boxing for its ability to engender such a class shift. It provides honor to the boxer and her family.
It also gives women a little more reprieve from the domestic duties required of many Indian women. And for some it has altered their attitude toward such roles. One woman has continued to fight even after marriage and motherhood and works in partnership with her husband running a sports academy out of their home.
The article was a smidge condescending and I was surprised there was no mention of religion. I am assuming that all of the women interviewed are not Muslims. Mostly because I am thinking of the issues Sania Mirza, a Muslim Indian, has had being a prominent professional tennis player. I imagine a Muslim boxer would have greater difficulties than the ones these women discussed.

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