Women Boxers Should Wear Skirts, Say Officials

Women’s boxing will be on the program for the London 2012 Olympics but that’s not why the sport has been in the news. The Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) is suggesting that women boxers wear skirts rather than shorts because doing so will enable spectators to distinguish them from men.

The AIBA is also suggesting that women wear “tight-fitting vests.”

The reasons, such as they are, for these clothing changes has nothing to do with enhancements to the women athlete’s performance or comfort. Dr. Ching-Kuo Wu, the AIBA’s president, says that the organization’s Women’s Commission made recommendations and that the clothing changes are being suggested for the sake of the spectators:

“I have heard many times, people say, ‘We can’t tell the difference between the men and the women,’ especially on TV, since they’re in the same uniforms and are wearing headgear.

While the skirts are currently “optional,” Wu says that, depending on “comfort and how easy it is to compete in the uniform,” it may become “compulsory.”

At least week’s European Championships in Rotterdam, only women from Poland and Romania were wearing the skirts and vest combo. Polish Boxing has already made wearing the skirts, which it terms “elegant,” compulsory.

“By wearing skirts, in my opinion, it gives a good impression, a womanly impression,” Poland coach Leszek Piotrowski told BBC Sport. “Wearing shorts is not a good way for women boxers to dress.”

Women athletes themselves — you know, the people who would actually have to compete in the skirts — have different views on the matter. Said Ireland’s three-time world champion Katie Taylor, who won her fifth consecutive European lightweight title in Rotterdam:

“It’s a disgrace that they’re forcing some of the women to wear those mini-skirts. We should be able to wear shorts, just like the men.

“I won’t be wearing a mini-skirt. I don’t even wear mini-skirts on a night out, so I definitely won’t be wearing mini-skirts in the ring.”

British lightweight champion Natasha Jonas said that boxing in skirts is “more for the aesthetics; nothing practical is going to come from wearing a skirt. The only people who would want to see women in skirts are men.” Boxers should, says Jonas, be able to choose their attire, rather than have (male) officials, coaches and the like make the decisions. How would the men feel about boxing in a skirt?

Jacquelin Magnay of the Telegraph has this answer regarding the AIBA’s claim that skirts are needed to distinguish women from men:

Hmm, here are some clues, guys: hips and breasts.

Not only is the idea flawed that skirts can somehow make female boxing appear more feminine, it is somewhat sleazy to have ringside boxing officials – nearly always male – looking upwards, ostensibly to watch the action. That’s what I call perving.

The AIBA wanting women boxers to wear skirts is a further sign of the feminizing of athletes, whether in saying that WNBA player Candace Parker “is pretty, which helps,” press photos of women athletes in dresses (so the public knows they don’t only like to get sweaty) and reports about a “groundbreaking female competitive sailor,” in which she is reduced to a “hot chick.” Heaven forbid that a woman who’s an athlete be seen off the court or in the ring in just what the guys are wearing, pants.


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Photo by Official U.S. Navy Imagery


Dale O.

George P, so very true...Hilary E Care2 has a variety of articles be these serious, feel good, kitty cats/puppies, Calls to Action! Sad to see that precious minutes of your life were sacrificed, given the royal flush down the Porcelain Goddess as Care2 isn't always Cause! Driven.

If one is constantly geared to Action! and solving life's miseries one can easily burn out. There is time for some 'minor' things in life although as others have pointed out this does involve women's right for dignity. Okay, some will say there is nothing dignified in the sport of boxing but the gist of this article is how women are still belittled by the attempt to 'be-frock' them in dresses or in this case skirts. Here the women need to be defrocked as cute dresses/skirts are acts of belittling them. Male athletes aren't being asked to choose between shorts or speedos and we should be past the point of pink shorts for girls and blue shorts for boys (or skirts). We don't demand that all male Scottish athletes wear kilts at the Olympics. Stereotypical thinking for all is unwarranted and unjustified. Also, if I choose to waste my time wading through many comments, it's my time to 'waste.'

Alexandra S.
Alexandra S6 years ago

They are boxers for god's sake, why should you even have to be able to tell men and women apart(which you ARE anyway, most of the time). their primary function in the ring should be that of a boxer not that of a man or a woman, same goes for any other occupation actually, and many other aspects of every day life!

David Anderson
David Anderson7 years ago

I must salute Hilary and George both! According to legend, Nero fiddled while Rome burned. This seems to come from the same vein.

Jo Patterson

Why not make male combatants wear speedos in the ring?! Problem solved.

Judith Howard
Judy Howard7 years ago

Absolutely ridiculous...sexist pigs!

Sarah Metcalf
Sarah M7 years ago

Excuse me?! This is infuriating!

George Payerle
George Payerle7 years ago

Hilary, I get your point. Events in Libya, say, and the potential for nuclear war arising out of the West's geopolitical agenda against Iran, are devastatingly important issues for people who Care2, and should be for everyone in the world. However, proposals such as the one intending to make women boxers wear skirts are soooo symptomatic of a culture not only with its head up its ass but with inherent issues of unrecognized misogyny, legalized violence and tawdry entertainment as an opiate for the masses that we can hardly afford to ignore them.This is the culture that would re-criminalize abortion in the name of God.

Hilary E.
Hilary E7 years ago

This has got to be one of the most amusing comment streams I've ever seen on care2, and I only wasted 5 minutes of my life on it. I can't even begin to imagine who much times some of you have spent sparring through comments about women boxers in skirts. Isn't care2 supposed to be about aware people trying to better the world? Not very good examples of that here...

bob m.
bob m7 years ago

Holland?....who wooda thought.?.......
what kind of humour is this?
Pants on woman Kind?
Not tying to offend "minorities"kind? Women should not wear pants kind?.....
appeasement kind?
This kind of rubics twist is soooo indicative of a nation that has lost touch with common sense...it is NOT funny. Smells like Michigan.....snifff snifff.

Dana W.
Dana W7 years ago

I've never understood why other women want to box but that's their choice. Anybody who can take, or give a punch, should be able to wear what they want. I thought boxing was supposed to be about athletic prowess, not fashion. I know - what if female boxers were allowed to wear shorts as long as they were pink?