Boxgirls – How boxing empowers girls and schools

Boxgirls is an innovative project supported by BMW Stiftung Herbert Quandt aimed at girls and young women. It uses sports to bring about social change and it operates in Berlin Kenya and South Africa.

Heather Cameron is the mind and the “operational arm” of this initiative of social entrepreneurship. What Boxgirls is trying to do is to teach to schoolchildren in Berlin to master difficult situations without falling into violence.

More and more girls are discovering that boxing is more than just a cool sport and that traditional girlish behaviours – avoiding conflicts, being passive and eager to please – won’t take them far. In the Boxgirls training sessions, the 10- to 16-year-olds find out that hard work pays off and gain a sense of their strengths and limitations.

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EFC Policy Par Là: Are we leaving girls out of the equation? – A dilemma for progress on equalities and policy making

Lakshmi Sundaram Executive Director of Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage will take a critical look at how governments, policy makers and the women’s movement are dealing with the needs of girls and lead a discussion exploring the underexploited opportunities we have to empower girls to thrive across national, social and cultural contexts.On the 8th of March, International Women’s Day put the spotlight on efforts around the world to raise awareness of women’s achievements and call for an end to inequality. Though women’s voices are arguably growing louder, under our noses we still find those that are perhaps less easily heard. And the circumstances of childhood and adolescence remain a minefield of gendered expectations.

There is a growing recognition that tackling the issues that girls face – as girls – are crucial to building better societies for everyone. In recent years, we have heard about the girl effect, the idea that placing girls at the centre of development is the key to ending poverty. In the West, there has been an increasing recognition of the challenges adolescent girls face and the toll that ignoring them takes on our societies.

However, while evidence of the importance of girls is growing, are we doing enough to put girls at the centre? Despite recent attention, are the issues faced by adolescent girls adequately addressed in policy frameworks and funding decisions? Or is the recent attention just talk, without the substantive funding and policy changes that are fundamental to creating and sustaining change?

How can we best understand the challenges girls face, the benefits of addressing girls’ issues, and what kind of serious analysis and evidence is still needed? Are key issues – social norms, girls’ agency and empowerment, perceptions of girls’ sexuality, equal opportunity, access to services – well enough understood to move forward now, or do we need more evidence?

If you wish to attend and join this Policy Par Là discussion, please send an email to policy@efc.be by Thursday 19th March.