Clifton Amateur Boxing club have started hosting women’s only boxing sessions, encouraging women to learn how to defend themselves and providing them with a safe space to do so.
The sessions are happening on Tuesdays and Fridays, and head coach Paul Smith along with his daughter Sophie, are also welcoming more young women to compete in boxing, challenging the notion that it is a masculine sport.
Sophie says she came to her father with the idea because she worried for the safety of women following incidents over the past couple of years.
“I think it’s important that every women knows some form of self-defence after everything that’s happened over the last couple years.”
“We just want to provide women with a safe space where they can come and train and where they feel comfortable.”
“I remember when I first started boxing I hated training in front of men, especially because I was quite young, it really put me off at first.”
A spotlight has been placed on women’s self-defence ever since the murder of Sarah Everard in March 2021 as the 33-year-old was raped and later killed in Clapham, South London by off-duty police officer, sparking widespread outrage and kickstarting a campaign for change.
“women should have the opportunity to train in a female only environment.” – Ellie Boutell
Women have recently been going on marches across the country branded “Reclaim the Night”, in order to demand that women are able to move throughout public spaces at night safely.
Stunning statistics also came to light this year, with reports stating that 1 in 4 women have experienced sexual assault and/or harassment as an adult in the UK and it was also reported that 1.6 million women in England and Wales have experienced domestic abuse.
Ellie Boutell is one of Clifton ABC’s best prospects and recently won the Box Cup, an international amateur tournament.
She feels boxing gyms are often quite male dominated and can be intimidating places for women to walk in to.
“Boxing gyms are very male spaces, I’d say about 90 per cent of the people in them are male, so women should have the opportunity to train in a female only environment.”
“I remember when I was training at a gym previously, I overheard a conversation between two men talking about if they would sleep with me or not.”
“You can understand why women don’t want to train in some of these places”.