Interview with Alexa DeJesus

WASHINGTON, DC—  It is no coincidence that Alexa DeJesus, Program Coordinator for the National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC) is at the heart of political and social change. At a very young age, she bore witness of her parent's involvement in politics. Also, a graduate of the prestigious Smith College, she endeavors legislation and policies that will advance women’s equality. In an interview with Women For Action, Alexa DeJesus explains why this sort of passion and conviction for change is fundamental to America's future.

Women For Action: I can see that you've held a wide variety of women's advocacy positions - as jobs - and through volunteering. Can you tell me more about what drew you towards feminist advocacy?

Alexa DeJesus: My parents were very involved in local and state politics so while I was growing up and I would always tag along to help hold signs on the bridge or lick envelopes for a big mailing. I was six years old when Congressman McGovern was running for re-election and my family had put a lot of work into the campaign. We went to see President Bill Clinton speak for the Congressman at Kennedy Park in Fall River, Massachusetts. I remember wondering what makes a person such as President Clinton so influential and commanding, and as he spoke, he left a profound effect on me. I wanted to represent the needs and rights of fellow citizens by speaking of and creating liberty and justice, as he was. I knew then that this wasn’t an ordinary job, but one that I later realized takes an incredible amount of determination, leadership, and kindness.

As I became more involved in the study of U.S. history it was apparent that few women were celebrated as significant contributors to the Ameri-can political landscape. I was driven to find women leaders, which led me to Hillary Clinton. I will never forget reading the words of Hillary Clinton, “When somebody says America can’t elect a woman President, I say come out on the campaign trail with me, see the parents who lift their little girls onto their shoulders and whisper into their ears, “See! You can be President too.” I knew there were women’s voices and stories left unheard, not written in our history books and I was going to help change that. Today, I am a proud graduate of Smith College and Programs Coordinator for the National Women’s Political Caucus.

Women For Action: One of those positions included interning for Hillary For America. She's now clinched the nomination and leading Trump in polls. What are your thoughts on the possibility of President Clinton being a reality?

Alexa DeJesus: I have long admired Secretary Clinton's dedication to public service. She has spent her entire career breaking barriers, powering through bias criti-cism, and focusing on her goals. As Secretary of State, she set records, traveling to 112 countries, and mak-ing gender equity a priority of U.S. foreign policy. Humanity needs a U.S. President who has foreign policy experience to help lead our country, and the world to stability. There is no one more qualified than Hillary Clinton, who has the proven ability to work with difference, not in spite of difference, to achieve this mission. A Hillary Clinton presidency means a new generation will grow up with an altered view of what women can do, a broader view. No longer limited by archaic standards, we will finally have the privilege to flip to a page of an American History book and see ‘Hillary’ among ‘Johns’ and ‘James’ in the Presidential list. We will all see that “after all, when there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit,” (Hillary Clinton, DNC 2016).

Women For Action: This election year is also a significant one for the future of the Supreme Court. I know I've asked you your thoughts on Hillary specifically. But in the bigger scope, what key women's issues do you think are at risk with SCOTUS if the election goes the other way to Trump?

Alexa DeJesus: The next president will likely appoint Supreme Court Justices, transforming the landscape of our court and law. Gender bias continues to create huge barriers for women today. Women are still making less than men per dollar: 78 cents for white women, 64 cents for black women, 54 cents for Latinas. Many women do not have access to reproductive healthcare, birth control, safe abortions, and general free-dom to make decisions regarding their own bodies, whether health, dress, or action. Women are still not equal under the U.S. Constitution, a truth that has revitalized the effort to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, thanks to the ERA Coalition and it’s partnered organizations. These are just a few examples of the disparities, to which both law and society need to work together to fix. Specifically speaking about SCOTUS, it is essential that the court is diverse and fair, something that is in great threat with a Trump presidency, between his vitriolic rhetoric and bogus proposals, it would completely turn around our march toward equality. The Supreme Court has, and will need to continue to take on women’s issues regarding equal pay, sexual harassment, reproductive health, and a whole slew of issues that will affect women, families, and the future of all Americans.

Women For Action: One of the National Women's Political Caucus' goals is to increase women's participation in American politics. How do you think this election cycle has done in terms of Congressional candidates & also with women exercising their right to vote? Do you see improvements in participation from recent years with Hillary as the Democratic nominee?

Alexa DeJesus: With 18 women running in the Senate and 187 in the House, this is an exciting year for women Congressional candidates. Women makeup 60% of the electorate and thus have the power to win elections: in 2012 55% of women voted for President Obama, compared to only 45% of men. Women also usually vote alongside women's issues, like abortion, by voting for pro-choice candidates. If women get out to vote this election cycle, there could be a lot of seats both in the House and Senate that will be won by feminists.

Here at the NWPC, we recruit, train, and elect pro-choice progressive women candidates and even amongst progress we have found difficulty convincing even the most intelligent and driven women to run for office. They see how women are treated, especially while campaigning, and it is hard to blame them for not wanting to put themselves through that. In 2016, this scrutiny towards women candidates has been changing.

Hillary Clinton has bore the brunt of sexist attacks throughout her lifetime and recently there has been a drive to change how the media depicts women in politics and in other arenas like sports, business, and entertainment. Throughout this election cycle, the NWPC has endorsed 55 candidates in federal races, and countless candidates in local and state races through our 13 state and local chapters around the U.S. and the number will continue to grow as November approaches. I urge everyone to vote in all levels of government. Winning local and state elections are just as crucial as winning the federal ones. In the words of President Obama, “Don’t boo, vote!”

Women For Action: What challenges and obstacles have you faced centering your career around women's advocacy?

Alexa DeJesus: I have the utmost appreciation and respect for the women that have preceded me in women’s advocacy because even though we face our own battles today, it was an enduring journey to get here. Thankfully, I have had the support of my family and friends in my ambitions for women’s rights and global equality. After graduating from Smith College, I immediately began working at the Women’s Bar Association & Foundation of Massachusetts and then came to the National Women’s Political Caucus. Although anti-women voices are heard in the me-dia and online I have always surrounded myself with strong, empowered feminists, which has allowed me to opt out of heart-aching debates on women’s rights. During this election cycle, I have taken a more direct role engaging with people who are not of the same mind, posing an obstacle. It is al-ways important to hear the other sides and keep an open dialogue on women’s issues, but it has been difficult speaking with people, especially other women, who believe feminism is obsolete because women are already equal and the fight should be laid to rest. As my fellow feminists know, the journey is far from over. Fourth wave feminism has unified with intersectionality building a greater force than ever. The energy at the United State of Women and Democratic National Convention this year was undeniably fueled by people from all states, ethnicities, abilities, religions, sizes, and sexu-alities coming together to celebrate women’s achievements and work toward the future. At the end of the day, you must work hard for what you believe, no matter what others are saying. What really matters is good work based on equality and compassion because together we can shatter each of our individual glass ceilings. We can help each other take on leadership roles and change our culture to respect and empower all women to be the best person they can be. One of the greatest messages from the Convention is, in fact, the greatest truth of our world: that we are stronger together. We must work toward changing public opinion and cultural norms to believe and honor that truth. It is the only way.

Contributor Rokia Hassanein | This interview was provided by Women For Action Times. Published in Oct / Nov 16 Issue Volume 2. 004  

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ITALY: Interview with Sara Consolato

In the wake of polarizing political conversations about refugees around the world, Refugees Welcome (RW), facilitates a program which enables civil society to perform as change-agents and welcome refugees into their prospective regions. RW serves as a hub on the web to connect refugees in crisis with people willing to host them. Sara Consolato,  Head of Communication for Refugees Welcome Italia, the Italian sector for the international  innovation explains in a Women For Action: Voices of Italy Interview, how RWI confronts social exclusion and marginalization of refugees, especially those migrating from war-torn countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Voices of Italy: Sara, tell us about your background and what led you to work in the field of human rights?

Sara Consolato: I’d like to start this interview by saying that “I’ve always known who I would have become in my life”. But it didn’t work like that for me. Sometimes It takes time to get where you are headed. I studied communication with a focus on International relations and afterwards, I attended a Master in Human rights. I was expected to start a career in the development cooperation field, but life brought me elsewhere. I started working in the nonprofit sector as a social researcher, a position I enjoyed and that helped me to develop an in-depth understanding of many crucial issues. But I felt that something was missing, as I wanted to do a job that could have an impact on people’s life, especially on those who are vulnerable. And this aspiration is what led me to work in the refugees assistance sector, an issue I’ve always been interested in - co-funding the startup, Refugees Welcome Italia.

Voices of Italy: You are currently Head of Communication for Refugees Welcome Italia (RWI), part of the European Refugees Network, founded in Berlin in 2014. Could you tell us more about the project and your role?

Sara Consolato: The RWI initiative is founded on a simple but revolutionary idea: open the doors of private houses to refugees, by providing them with home-stays instead of mass accommodations where they usually feel marginalized and excluded. The organization aims at promoting a new model of reception, in order to increase the possibility for asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection to faster integrate themselves into the hosting countries. The main tools of the project are the web site, where potential hosting families (in the largest meaning of the term) and the refugees looking for an accommodation can register, and the local RW's teams that take care of the matching and monitor the processes through the all stages.

The innovation brought about by the project relies on two elements:  the use of the  technology, which allows everyone, even people living in remote areas of Italy, to get involved and an interpersonal approach which encourages mutual understanding and exchange between Italian people and refugees. Housing refugees in private accommodations provides advantages for everyone: refugees are able to live in sound places, learn the language faster, and adjust to a new environment more easily. The hosting families, on the other hand,  have the chance to know a different culture and help a person in a difficult situation. The response of the Italian people has been amazing: more than 400 families, from all over Italy, registered on our platform in 9 months and we managed to match 20 refugees in shared flats until now.

As for my role, I am a member of the executive board and the head of the communication which means that I am in charge of designing and implementing RWI communication strategies and activities. It is a pivotal role, as one of the goals of RW is to spread a more humane culture of welcoming refugees. The challenge for me is to humanize the debate on the refugees crisis, which is so often biased, and to focus on the personal stories of all the people involved in the project: refugees, families and volunteers. This position is providing me with the privilege to give voice to “another Italy”, a part of the country not properly covered by mainstream media and made of incredible and inspiring people who are open-minded and free of all prejudices, who spontaneously open the doors of their house and donate their time to  people in need. Their genuine solidarity makes me feel proud of being Italian on daily basis.

Voices of Italy: You worked with various NGOs in your line of work. Can you tell us which projects inspired you the most and how so?

Sara Consolato: I can’t help mentioning my last experience in Lesvos, Greece, where I worked this summer for almost 3 weeks, carrying out a storytelling project for Refugees Welcome in Kara Tepe, a refugees camp which host around 800 people. I had the ability to speak with many asylum seekers, mainly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. This experience provided me with an in-depth look into what being a displaced person means. I could observe the psychological struggles of refugees -  the trauma of the war zone they fled, the trauma of a dangerous journey, the trauma of being stuck in unsanitary camps filled with fist fights and sometimes abuses, the uncertainty of the future -  but also to appreciate their incredible resilience. It was stunning to see the strength they gather to defend their dignity even in harsh conditions and their willingness to be treated as humans, not as mere numbers. I’d like to recall some of them: Amina, a 45 years old lady from Aleppo who lost his husband during the boat trip from Turkey, founding herself completely alone in Greece; Basil, the Iraqi teen-ager who fled the atrocity of Isis and dreams of becoming a rapper; Rami, a talented designer from Damascus, who swam for almost 8 hours after his boat sunk. All these people taught me a lesson: even though life hits you hard,  what really matters is to continue to believe in the possibility of a new beginning.

Voices of Italy: Where do you think RWI is headed? In other words, what sort of outcome do you foresee for its program?
Sara Consolato: As I already mentioned, RWI’s strength lays on being a button-up project which start from the direct involvement of the civil society but is aimed at promoting an institutional and cultural change as well. Our ambition is to improve the policies of reception for refugees currently in force in Italy; policies that are mainly based on mass accommodations and on an impersonal approach which often results in a lack of a real social inclusion for the refugees. We firmly believe that domestic reception can pave the way to an easier multicultural integration and our long-term goal is to make RW hosting philosophy been recognized by the institutions among the official ways of reception.

Voices of Italy: What sort of role do you wish to play in the long term or do you feel that you are already in the best position to fulfil this sort of outcome?

Sara Consolato: I think storytelling, which is at the core of my work, is a fundamental asset to promote the cultural change RWI is getting to. In the current situation,  with populist propaganda raising across Europe, and walls and fences being built at the borders, it is essential to cast a light on the personal side of this humanitarian crisis. There is a tendency, both among leading politicians and in sections of the mainstream media, to demonize refugees and to depict them as an endless tide of people who will steal jobs, become a burden on the state and ultimately threaten the our way of life. This “narrative of the invasion” cannot be won only by showing statistics and numbers. We need to show the reality of refugees: their names, their faces, their ambitions and their fears, their loves and what they fled. We have to do it with stories, humanizing otherwise faceless refugees. It is only when we strip the humanity from people  - when we stop seeing them as humans being like us - that our empathetic nature is lost. I think storytelling has the power to reverse this trend. Not by chance, Everyone has its own story to tell, is RWI’s motto

Voices of Italy: What sort of obstacle have you faced throughout your career that you feel others could learn from?

Sara Consolato: I think one of the greatest obstacle I faced was finding myself, at a professional level, in a comfort zone,  a state of stability in which a person feels familiar, at ease, and where steady level of performance is possible. It’s hard to question such a situation. I did for many years a job that I liked but I knew it didn’t suit me perfectly. So, at a certain point in my life,  I decided to turn the table and to invest all my energies in a new pioneering project – a risk -  Refugees Welcome Italia. It’s an enthusiastic challenge to start from the scratch, to literally build with your own hands something that didn’t exist before and that can positively affect other people’s life. I believe that ability to take risks by stepping outside your comfort zone is the primary way by which we grow. 

Voices of Italy: What words of wisdom or advice would you lend to Women For Action’s global audience?

Sara Consolato: There is not a better school in life than travelling. I was very lucky during the past years, as I had the chance to visit many countries, often as a solo traveller, an experience that helped  me learn how to think critically and to form opinions of my own about many crucial issues. So my advice is: travel as much as you can, even by yourself, get rid of preconceptions,  don’t be afraid of the cultural differences and never stop cultivating a curious attitude toward the people around you.

Interviewed by Chiara Cola

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LONDON: Interview with Marianne Marston

LONDON—  Marianne Marston, prodigy of the late legendary Heavyweight Champion of the World, Smokin’ Joe Frazier, and two time Cruiserweight Champion of the World Steve ‘USS’ Cunningham has underwent immense hurdles as a pro woman boxer. Years ago, she was denied a much needed boxing license by the British board for no other reason but for  their lack of interest in women boxing.

The year 2016 was not only a win for Marston and other women boxers because not only did she receive a license by a separate British board, she has received offers to be licensed in several other countries.

The lack of equality in boxing and sports has been a long time fight for Marston which led to her managing, promoting and providing competitive training for other women boxers. In a Women For Action interview, she expressed that she hopes that one day the world would take a more vested interest in women athletes. Furthermore, she hopes to be more apart of that change.

Women For Action: What sort of contribution do you feel women are bringing to the professional sport of boxing?

Marianne Marston: Women’s boxing attracts a more diverse audience to the sport and it seems that it also attracts a young audience. In itself, that is a major contribution in the long term for the sport.

Women For Action: You have possibly battled discrimination as a woman boxer in Britain which has denied you a professional license. Do you think the mentality is changing for women boxers in the UK?

Marianne Marston: On my return from America in 2009, the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) refused to license me. Their General Secretary, Robert Smith said that it was because I would go back to America to fight, due to having a twelve- fight contract with an American promoter. He made it clear, that he did not approve of women boxing. It seemed obvious that it was going to be quite a battle to get my license here. I did appeal on various occasions but to no avail, even though I had fantastic support from world champions like Joe Frazier, Steve Cunningham and Tim Witherspoon to name a few.

However, eventually I became professionally licensed by the Malta Boxing Commission (MBC) in 2011 and as of April this year, I finally received a British license from the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) which launched earlier this year.

It seems that many other organizations [ in Europe and America] believed in my pro boxing ability. Thanks to MBC, BIBA and the German Boxing Association (GBA), as well as promoters such as Dave Murphy, Mark Lyons and Lee Murtagh, women’s professional boxing has really began to establish itself once again here in the United Kingdom.

When I debuted in 2013, at York Hall in London, on a GBA sanctioned event and on my Maltese license, I was the only active licensed British female professional. Now there are twelve of us licensed by MBC or BIBA. Actually, even the BBBofC has licensed three women in the last year, although I feel that it is more of a reactionary tactic. After all, the same people that occupy the BBBofC today were there back in 2009. In my mind, the women’s side of the sport in the UK is finally starting to establish itself.

Interestingly, women’s boxing had a chance to establish itself in the 1990’s after people like Jane Couch took the BBBofC to court and won the right for female boxers to be professionally licensed. Unfortunately, it didn’t really seem to take off. Yet, in 2016, it really does look like we are finally winning the battle.

It’s not just the increased number of pro licensed female boxers, also we are gaining ground on female fans attending events. When I started boxing, the average was seventeen percent; When I beat Marianna Gulyas for the MBC International title in 2014, it was over thirty percent; and my last fight, not only were there three female bouts on the card but the attendance split was almost a fifty-fifty male and female.

I’ve also noticed a significant increase in media interest over the past year. Now all we have to do is get the broadcasters to get behind us, so the wider world can see for themselves that there’s very little difference between male and female boxing.

Women For Action: What do you think society and or women can do to bridge an acceptance for more women boxers?

Marianne Marston: For me, boxing should not be divided down the middle by gender. I believe it should be the same for other sports. We are all athletes. So why should it be so different for us women? The big name British promoters does not have one woman signed to them. Nor does do they seem to have an interest in having a female fight on their shows.

Let’s compare the up and coming fights between the two genders. These guys are fighting for three unified titles at the O2 in front of 19,000 people. They are being paid millions; the fight will be broadcast worldwide and they are receiving huge levels of media coverage, which in turn means they will receive substantial sponsorship; and finally another major difference is that they get to train full time for the fight.

Gabilsile and myself are fighting to Unify FOUR titles. This fight will probably be in front of around 3000 to 4000 people at Alexandra Palace, as with all my previous fights. I have to cover the costs of  Gabisile’s purse, her team's travel and accommodation, as well as the championships sanctioning fees. The only way I get to receive any form of purse is if I have sold enough tickets to cover all the above and more. The only personal support I have at the moment is sponsorship from BoxFit UK for my training kit and Scott Mallon’s 3x Sports that provide my gloves. Plus, I have to pay for my training camp as well as work full time.

However saying that, it looked like I may be receiving some support this time. Former Hollywood Movie Producer Barbara Gold of The World Wide Organization to Aid Youth Through Sports(WWOAYS ) has offered to cover some of the costs, as this event will be raising funds for both the WWOAYS as well as the Amir Khan Foundation. Also through Claire Forsyth and Elena Capurro from Manray Media, I will receive some level of broadcast exposure thanks to the documentary “Right to Fight’ that they have been shooting for the past couple of years.

It is a vicious circle. If we don’t get the main-stream media exposure, we don’t get the opportunities and of course, if we don’t get the opportunities, we don’t the media exposure. Let’s face it. We are half the population, but women in sports as a whole only receive a small percentage of the coverage that our male counterparts do.

Women For Action: You are also a licensed manager and promoter and founded the company Women’s Boxing Classes (In London). What led you down this path?

Marianne Marston: Quite simply if I didn’t do it, women probably wouldn’t get the chances to box that they do now.

Even before I returned to the UK in 2009, I used to come back to London regularly. However, I could not receive the same level of training that I received in America. At the time, I was being trained by one of the most famous world champions of all time, Joe Frazier. Yet, all I was offered here was to join a ‘Boxercise’ class.

Luckily, I found a gym I could train at in London, although, I was primarily training myself, with some help from other boxers at the gym. Then I started offering personal training services and eventually persuaded the owner to allow me to set up women-only classes. These were so successful that within weeks, I had full classes which marked the beginning of my management and training venture. Unfortunately, the owner decided he didn’t want to keep splitting the fees with me so he took over my classes by offering the opportunity to a work-experience lad who trained for free.

A week later, I found myself at Johnny Eames’ TKO Gym in Canning Town by accident which is known for being the boxing nirvana. All the top London pros were based there such as the likes of Kevin Mitchell and Billy Joe Saunders. In a conversation with Johnny, I explained that I did not have a gym to train at. He offered me space at his gym. Shortly after that, he became my manager and allocated a coach to me.

After about a week or so, Johnny agreed to let me start offering personal training sessions as well as have my women’s classes based there in the evenings. As for the promoting and managing, well it was more or less the same reasons. I had developed some fantastic boxers that had progressed through the ranks from white collar to amateur and even had one ready to turn professional.

On the promoting side, I am seriously excited about doing more. In the future I’d like to organize the Women’s World Boxing Championships. I had proposed this to the BBBofC to sanction, but they turned it down. I am pleased to say that BIBA and various World Championship Organizations, such as the World Boxing Union and World Boxing Federation like the idea. So once my title fight is out of the way, I will start working on that again.
Women For Action: Sometimes media shows unhealthy images of women on women conflict or girls against girls. In which ways do you feel your profession is spreading more positivity for women and girls?

Marianne Marston: Boxing, like any contact sport, provides an opportunity for women to compete, if that is what they choose to do, but in other ways it is just as beneficial. As a sport, or even as an exercise, boxing provides so many benefits - -health and fitness as well as engendering discipline and confidence. Just the fact that these days they can participate is a major step forward. Yet, when we eventually get the exposure the sport deserves, it will also provide positive role models.

Women For Action: You are a protégé of the late legendary Heavyweight Champion of the World, Smokin’ Joe Frazier, and two-time Cruiserweight Champion of the World Steve ‘USS’ Cunningham. Can you tell us briefly how these relationships came about?

Marianne Marston: I first met Joe by accident. I was at a coffeeshop in Philadelphia. It was particularly busy that day and the only spare seats were at my table. Two guys came over and asked if I minded if they sat at the table, I stated, “Yes”. During the conversation the young man mentioned he was a boxer. I replied that I had just started training and was going to go to Joe Hand’s Gym the next day to see if I can train there. The mature fellow asked me to do some shadow boxing. The young man then asked me if I knew who the other man was. I said, “No”. He laughed and then introduced him as Smokin’ Joe Frazier. I was so embarrassed. I hadn’t recognized him as he was my hero from an early age. Joe then handed me his card, and invited me to his gym the next day for a trial. The rest is history. Joe became my first manager; his son Marvis and Val Colbert became my first real coaches.

After two or three trips over to Philly for training, Joe called me into his office and said he wanted me to move to Philadelphia so that they could prepare me for my professional debut.

Shortly after I moved into my new apartment in Philadelphia, Joe’s gym, which was in a terrible condition had closed. I was devastated but it didn’t take long before I found the James Shuler Memorial Gym in West Philadelphia thanks to the advice of two-time Heavyweight World Champion Tim Witherspoon, who trained his son Tim Jr. there.

Initially, I was being trained by World Light Middleweight Champion Robert ‘Bam Bam’ Hines, but was really finding it difficult to understand him through a very strong accent. Therefore, gym owner Buster asked Shar’ron Baker if she could work with me.

Just after I started training with Shar’ron, Livvy Cunningham, Steve Cunningham’s wife and manager invited me to be part of Steve’s team. To say I felt honored is an understatement. The upshot was that Steve and Shar’ron would co-train me, as Steve could only really put in the time when he wasn’t in camp preparing for his own fights. These were such special times for me.

Women For Action: At an early age you were diagnosed with and beat Cancer. Plus you were diagnosed with coeliac disease some years ago. How do you think this has made you a survivor and fighter?

Marianne Marston: It was very hard going when I was first diagnosed with Cancer, I was just nineteen years of age and it took two operations over a five year period until I was finally given the clear.

Coeliacs is more recent. Initially it seemed to be triggered by food poisoning whilst I was in America about fifteen years ago. Yet when I look back, I actually wonder if I had it from an early age as I always seemed to have stomach problems after I ate bread. At that time there were very few gluten free products so I had to develop everything for my diet myself. I experimented with non-wheat flours and even made my own.

One of the biggest problems back then, especially as I was travelling a lot was eating out. No matter how much I stressed to the waiters that I cannot have anything with gluten, invariably they just didn’t get it. I was often in pain for days after having a meal out.

 same level of exposure through the media as well as airtime for their dedication to their chosen sport.

On the boxing side, specifically that the Women’s World Boxing Championships become an annual event and of course that the women’s side of professional boxing grows to a level where it is fully accepted and is seen by those that compete in the amateur ranks as an opportunity to progress to pro boxing as there is in the male side.

Finally that there are more opportunities for Sportswomen to be able to remain involved at the end of their careers in the sport in other capacities, such as coaches or officials.

For instance, BIBA has an equal opportunity policy and I am proud to be part of an organization that enforces this. Jennifer Burton is the Vice Chairman, Georgia Collison is an inspector, Amy Cardona a timekeeper, Dr. Louise Eccles is the Chief Medical Officer and I have been appointed as Honorary Director of Female Boxing. I have been made aware that another female ex-boxer has applied to be trained as a referee.

Contributor Julene Allen | This interview was provided by Women For Action Times. Published in Aug / Sept Issue Volume 2. 003  

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