There’s something very empowering about that jab, hook, uppercut. For an increasing number of women in India, boxing has taught courage, fueled ambition and rewarded champions who grew up in poverty with otherwise unattainable recognition.
As someone who’s admittedly quite rah-rah about women’s empowerment, I couldn’t help but feel warm and fuzzy when I stumbled on an inspiring NY Times article about the power of women’s boxing in India, a country where boys are often favored over girls.
For many women, boxing has also provided ticket to middle-class life, partly because the Indian government rewards athletes with highly-coveted government employment. And with the recent announcement of women’s boxing as an official sport for the 2012 Olympics, India’s female athletes will vie for international fame as they push the gender bar.
In an interview with India’s most acclaimed boxer, Mangte Chungneijang Merykom, 27, the NY Times writes:
Kom kept boxing a secret from her family — until she won a state championship in 2000, and everyone, including her parents, discovered what she had been up to. Her father goaded her to give it up. Boxing is too dangerous, he told her. Members of her clan disapproved. The boys in her hometown ridiculed her. She held out.
“One day, I will show you who I am,” she recalled thinking.
I love girls who can kick some ass.