Boxing empowers women in Colombia

Women’s boxing has become a global sensation, transcending mere competition to serve as a powerful avenue for enhancing both physical fitness and mental well-being. In Colombia’s Medellin, the foundation “Mi Barrio Mi Sueño” is using boxing to empower girls and women in the challenging neighborhood of La Honda, plagued by poverty and domestic violence.

Founded by Andrea González Duarte in 2020, the foundation offers boxing lessons alongside nutrition, health, and business development services. For participants as young as seven to as old as eighty-seven, boxing is more than a sport; it’s a means of emotional release, empowerment, and self-discovery.

In La Honda, where poverty often traps women in abusive relationships or pushes them into sex work, boxing has emerged as a lifeline. Sory, a Venezuelan refugee mother, shares how boxing classes provided not only physical activity but also a support system and a sense of accomplishment.

Andrea González Duarte emphasizes the transformative potential of boxing, combining physical exercise with socio-emotional training to help women overcome trauma and reclaim their self-worth. The foundation also addresses critical issues like sexual violence and misinformation through separate classes.

Veronica Vidales, a boxing teacher and social leader, underscores how boxing fosters resilience against gender violence and helps women make informed life choices. Similar to the experience of world champion boxer Maureen Shea, boxing empowers women to heal, grow, and pursue their goals.

Beyond personal growth, the project fosters entrepreneurship among women in La Honda, providing opportunities for economic independence and community building. Through jewelry-making workshops, participants like Luznay have gained confidence and financial stability.

The story of “Mi Barrio Mi Sueño” illustrates how boxing can serve as a catalyst for personal and professional growth, empowering women to overcome adversity and create positive change in their lives and communities. The principles learned through boxing—discipline, focus, and resilience—are directly applicable to the professional sphere, enabling women to excel in male-dominated workplaces and advocate for diversity and inclusion.

By fostering networks of support and promoting holistic self-care, boxing empowers women to navigate the challenges of work and personal life with confidence and balance, ultimately leading to improved well-being and career fulfillment. Just as boxing has transformed the lives of women in La Honda, it offers a model for empowerment that can be replicated globally.

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