Running on Monday and Thursday evenings, the Young Boxing Woman Project provides free boxing classes and empowering discussions for young women aged 15-24. They also offer paid classes for women aged 25 and over, which helps fund the free youth classes, along with their partnership with City of Subiaco.
Classes start at 5pm at the Subiaco Community Centre and run for an hour and a half, split evenly between getting your sweat on with a non-combat boxing session and getting your chat on with an open dialogue covering topics such as how to buy a house, how to get your career path on track and of course, how to maintain positive mental health. The discussions are led by women working in industries from astrophysics to media and the arts.
The idea was sparked back in 2016, when a gender pay-gap report revealed that WA has the largest gap in the country, and one of the worst globally. Founder Lisa Longman attended an event to discuss strategies to reduce the gap, where she discovered that one of the main causes for it is that 87% of women lack the self-confidence to advocate for themselves in the workplace. Lisa had also read a study indicating that resilient women in high-paid, executive roles usually play sports, which in turn increased their confidence. A lightbulb went off in Lisa’s head.
“If that’s true, then wouldn’t the reverse be true? If we take sports to women, we can build those characteristics and that confidence.”
From there, the Young Boxing Woman Project was born, with the aim to empower and raise self-confidence for the next generation of women. With past speakers including reporter Narelda Jacobs and Wendy Martin, the artistic director for Perth Festival, the instructors have their guests participate in the boxing classes before leading the discussion both to create a community vibe and to show that even though they are remarkable women, some things will still pose a challenge to them. The hope is that the young women will remember this when they feel intimidated by those they look up to in the workplace.
The classes are perfect for after school or work and accept all levels, from the newbies to more experienced boxers. If you feel more comfortable starting in a smaller group, we were told that Thursday classes are the quieter of the two.
To get involved, sign up on their website. You only need to sign up once, and then you have free reign to attend as many classes as you like.