International Women's Day 2021
Today we celebrated International Women's Day where a panel of guests discussed the importance of speaking about women's issues in the workplace and working towards a future that will see equality for women. I think having these discussions is also important in sports or activities where women are generally a minority or have low engagement. Filipino Martial Arts is no exception to this.
A recent filipino martial arts community survey created by Arlene Pinpin Stevens found that the reasons for low female enrolment were lack of awareness, lack of accessibility, gender stereotypes, intimidation/inferiority, or preferring other arts/activities. The women thought lack of awareness and accessibility was their number one reason, while the men thought gender stereotyping as the number one reason. In the same survey reasons for female dropouts were filipino martial arts culture, community support, physical, psychological, and personal/resources as being the number one reason.
If you are a woman in filipino martial arts then you are definitely a minority especially in certain cities around the world where this art is dominated by men. This make things more challenging for women to feel compelled to participate and really highlights how the FMA community can grow and encourage more women to join. I am one of the few women in Australia who currently practice this art although the classes I've been to so far have been even numbered between female and male participants. The numbers have been low all round but luckily my experience hasn't been too one-sided with the exception of several days here and there. I still think there should be more women in filipino martial arts, there should be more women leaders blazing the trail for the next generations.
Look for the women's only social group 'FMA Connects' on Facebook as a space where women in filipino martial arts can chat and get to know each other from around the world.