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WSF Responds to International Boxing Association (AIBA) Adoption of Skirts for Women Boxers

Germany Boxing Exercise With Regina Halmich - FIFA Women's World Cup 2011

The International Boxing Association (AIBA) announced that the women’s uniforms would be skirts and tight fitting vests at the semi-finals of the Women’s World Championships in Barbados last week. They join the Badminton World Federation (BWF) in attempting to impose skirts on athletes. Apparently, the AIBA is trying to highlight the differences between male and female athletes. “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,” said Dr. Ching-Kuo Wu, President of the AIBA. “After we hear about its comfort and how easy it is to compete in the uniform, it may be compulsory. But we are still working on it.”

The Women’s Sports Foundation asks the AIBA to reconsider its position to take away choice of attire for women. Additionally, the Women’s Sports Foundation’s position is that sporting organizations like the AIBA should responsibly produce research, evidence or other objective analysis to demonstrate the need for such restrictions, prior to mandating athletic apparel regulations which limit the apparel choices of athletes, as a matter of process.

Athletic organizations have the right to limit or mandate an athlete’s selection of competitive apparel in the following circumstances:

  • Prohibit garments that provide participants with an unfair competitive advantage
  • Prohibit garments that may interfere with the performance of an opponent
  • Prohibit garments that may inhibit the effective officiating of a contest
  • Prohibit garments that may cause injury to the competitor or his/her opponents
  • Mandate that all members of the same team wear the same garments in order to permit visible and ready distinction between opposing teams on the part of players and officials.

Attempts like these to emphasize femininity and sexuality actually suppress interest and respect for these women athletes, according to recent research by Mary Jo Kane at the Tucker Center.

The Women’s Sports Foundation’s Policy on Athletic Attire.

For more on the Women’s Sports Foundation, visit our website