NOWSPAR Submits to Parliamentary Committee in Support of Gender Equality in Professional Boxing

The Professional Boxing Control (Amendment) Bill N.A.B. 32/2010 is under consideration by the Parliamentary Committee on Sport, Youth and Child Affairs.

NOWSPAR, having been part of the Act review process coordinated by the Ministry of Sport in August 2007, took up this opportunity to advocate further for pertinent issues in light of gender equality in Professional boxing.

Key issues of our presentation included the need for gender equity measures in composition of the board, freedom of boxers to establish associations to look into their interests, provision for safety equipment and insurance, the need for the Board to be responsible for the establishment of a code of conduct that protects women from harassment including sexual, verbal, physical and economic among others.

In view of the career ending impact of HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B, the Control Board should be obligated to ensure each boxer is aware of the prevention and management of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B as well options for planning pregnancy.

Our submission was further enriched by a female professional boxer included in our delegation; Ms. Inonge Nayoto from Vision Stable in Lusaka who is the current Super Feather Weight National Champion. Ms. Nayoto shared her personal experience practicing professional boxing as a female, highlighting the challenges of the profession and the desired interventions.

The Parliamentarians were further informed of NOWSPAR’s work in promoting women role models in sport through the Sheroes Campaign and the development of a code of conduct on harassment in sport that is underway in partnership with Norwegian Confederation of Sport (NIF), Women Win and the Kicking AIDS Out Network.

Some of the submission content with reference to the Principle Act:

a) Anti-Discrimination: In line with the spirit of anti-discrimination, the act should include a clause providing for the freedom for all persons above the stipulated age to participate in professional boxing and wrestling despite sex, race and other issues of diversity.

b) Constitution of the Board: The clause on the composition of the Executive Board should be extended to include the provision for gender equity measures to the extent that no more than 60% of the board comprise of one sex.

c) General Phrasing: kindly review the phrasing to replace ‘chairman’ with ‘chairperson’ and all male nouns with neutral nouns e.g ‘him’ with ‘they’.

d) Powers of the Board : Kindly delete the provision that the board may not register as a boxer or wrestler any person who is not of the male sex (9 C.ii B)

e) Protection of Boxers, Managers: The Board should be responsible for developing and implementing a code of ethics that will guide and protect boxers and managers in view of sexual, physical, economic and other forms of harassment and abuse.

f) Subsidiary Legislation

i. Protective Clothing: Protective clothing to be updated to meet international standards including protective clothing specific to women boxers e.g Breast plates/shields

3.0 Professional Wrestling

We are aware that there are at the moment no women participating in wrestling in Zambia. Challenges to their involvement include:

– Lack of infrastructure

– Lack of capacity to coach and manage wrestlers

– Lack of awareness on the sport

– Cultural barriers relating to the type of sport that women can participate in

Investment in awareness, education, policy change, budgetary allocation to infrastructure development, capacity development- coaches, referees, trainers, managers etc. Partnership with other stakeholders nationally and in the rest of the world.