International Women’s Day is annually celebrated on March 8, commemorating the movement for women’s rights. Women of Muay Thai all around the world mark this day in the spirit of Fair Play and equal treatment for all.
IFMA has always encouraged women to participate in the sport of amateur Muay Thai – in the first instance as athletes, but also as referees, judges, coaches, administrators, and officials. “Today girls and women compete at both the Youth World Championships and the World Championships every year,” stated in the press release the organization published on Thursday.
Women jumped the ropes at The World Games in Wroclaw last year as Muay Thai made its debut as a full medal sport. The IFMA executive board too welcomes women, with female presidents in countries including Portugal, Philippines, Mexico – Elisa Salinas is also head of the Pan American Muay Thai grouping – and Kyrgyzstan. Some have traveled from the frontlines of Muay Thai competition to their roles, others through a passion for helping young athletes blossom but all play a central role in modern Muay Thai.
“It’s International Women’s Day every day for IFMA, but on the 8th of March we like to allow our members to show us what they do,” said Sue Glassey, a former athlete, who is now head of the Oceania Muay Thai Federation and also of the IFMA Female Commission. “We have been especially proud in the last year of the re-emergence of a women’s team in Iran, the growth of all-female sparring days around the world to encourage students of Muay Thai to try competition-style sport and the steady increase in the number of female referees. It’s vital for us that girls and women are visible in every area of our sport.”
Charissa Tynan, IFMA’s Sport Director said: “It has been very exciting to see women’s Muay Thai grow over the past few years. The girls divisions at the Youth Championships are dear to my heart, as that’s where we see the future of our sport. Seeing young girls with such enthusiasm for our sport is simply fantastic. And we are very happy to have so many female roles models on the official side, there is a place for everyone with a passion for our sport.”
Ms Tynan said IFMA’s partnership with global bodies including UN Women and on the HeforShe project have helped Muay ThaI play a role in encouraging gender parity in sport. Later today she joins UN Women to “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality” in Bangkok.