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UNFPA supports boxers in fight to end gender discrimination in South Sudan

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Thursday said that it is supporting amateur and professional boxers in the fight to end discrimination and violence against women and girls in the country.

Ademola Olajide, the Country Representative for the UNFPA in South Sudan told journalists during the celebration of 16 days of Activism on Ending Violence Against Women and Girls at the headquarter of the South Sudan Boxing Federation that they are challenging social norms which exclude girls from productive spaces.

“We want to be able to work with the boxing federation and football association to show that what men can do women can do and even do better,” said Olajide in Juba.

“We want to begin to challenge social norms that relegate women and girls to the back end of society, we want to create for them a platform where they can prosper where they can become not only champions in their games but also champions of gender equality,” he added.

The boxing tournament to mark 16 Days of Activism on Ending Violence Against Women and Girls was organized by South Sudan Boxing Federation under the theme “empowering youth for peacebuilding through sports”.

Teresa Athian Abdelbagi Akol, the President for the South Sudan Boxing Federation said that young girls are participating in boxing as a way to break free from the traditional gender stereotypes.

“The 16 days of activism that we are celebrating today, are not something that we are doing and then stop, we have to advocate and we have to raise awareness, we are talking about gender -based violence against women, what men can do women can do,” said Akol.

Brenda Ross, the Head of Child Protection at United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) said the event is celebrated to advocate for ending gender-based violence and child marriages across the world.

“16 days of activism is an event held globally to support the ending of gender -based violence and child marriage, it is no secret that there are challenges in South Sudan, we are your faithful partner alongside the whole of UN community,” said Ross. 

Joseph Geng Akech, the National Minster of Youth and Sports said they are striving to create inclusivity of boys and girls, adding that an inclusive society promotes peaceful co- existence.

“Obviously, unity cannot come if we do not see ourselves in it together, we will have to strive to create inclusivity of girls and boys of different ethnic groups, of different ideas. Once we are inclusive then we may have peace,” said Akech.

According to the International Boxing Association (IBA), the boxing sport for women is growing popular with the number of registered female boxers in recent years significantly increasing across the world.

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