For a country that does so well at the noble sport of boxing, Ireland is surprisingly backward when it comes down to gender equality; especially in the coaching arena. So says Antoinette Faye, the country’s top female boxing coach.
Ms Faye has recently gone on record saying that the IABA (Irish Athletic Boxing Association) has evinced a dearth of equality regarding the new High-Performance Unit. The reason is because the Association has not made room for a single female coach in its staffing.
She is not alone in her opinion. Her sentiment is also echoed by some of the longest-serving coaches in boxing; and these include the vice-president of IABA as well as the Munster Provincial Boxing Council’s president, Bernard Dunne. Dunne’s name many readers will recognise as being a one-time WBA, and European Super Bantamweight champion.
Having no female coaches in the HPU will hinder progress
The High-Performance Unit (HPU) already has some notable female boxers on its books – Katie Taylor the IBF, and WBA light-heavyweight ladies champion, and the World Champion silver medallist, Kellie Harrington.
According to Faye, the HPU, which staffed by men only, is planning on taking the training of the Irish junior and youth girls’ teams under its wing. This she says, can be seen as a slur on the ability that the existing female coaches have shown to date.
She firmly believes that having no female coaches amongst the unit’s staff could severely hinder the development of female boxers. Boxing fans everywhere (including those who have fared well in the King of the Knockouts’ quiz) have a right to be concerned – for the future of ladies boxing.
Antoinette Fay’s professional pedigree
Antoinette Faye is a well-respected boxing professional. She has recently returned home to Ireland from Spain where she trained with the women’s senior elite team. They won a bronze and two gold medals. She’s the only Irish female boxer to have reached the status of being rated as 2-star AIBI World Body international boxing coach as well as being a fully qualified boxing teacher.
In terms of her international coaching career, the teams she has been associated with have won a stunning nine gold, 12 silver, plus 16 bronze medals from seven international competitions over a three-year period.
The IABA is sending out the wrong message to female boxers
She made her mind up to attack the supposed gender disparity issue after she was passed over for a place within the coach enhancement scheme. Not only were no women appointed, but she maintains that she, herself, is more qualified than five of her male counterparts who were given positions.
Faye feels that she has to speak up now, what with plans in the pipeline to usurp the training of both the junior as well as the youth girls teams – especially as these young ladies are currently being coached by female coaches.
She understands that the Irish ladies boxing teams need the best possible facilities, but she is adamant that this should include multi-gender coaching.
In the past, the IABA have been very supportive of women at all levels in the sport. But, she feels that on this occasion that support has dissipated. What sort of a message she asks, is having no female coaching in Abbotstown broadcasting, not only to lady boxers but to women in general?