Gender Discrimination in Amateur Boxing

Gender discrimination is alive and well in the sport of amateur boxing. The following is a fascinating bit of information about the law and my current battle with the Golden Gloves.

What are the USOC, USA Boxing, and the National Golden Gloves, and What are Their Duties?

Federal legislation called the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act (36 USC section 220501), recognizes the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), a federally chartered organization, to oversee amateur athletics in America. Under section 220503, amongst the purposes of the USOC are (12) to encourage and provide assistance to amateur athletic activities for women.


USA Boxing is recognized by the USOC as the national governing body for amateur boxing. Under section 220522, USA Boxing may continue to be recognized as a national governing body only if it (8) provides an equal opportunity to amateur athletes, coaches, trainers, managers, administrators, and officials to participate in amateur athletic competition, without discrimination on the basis of.sex.” and (15) demonstrates that it is prepared to meet the obligations imposed on a national governing body under section 220524. Under section 220524, for the sport that it governs, a national governing body shall (1) develop interest and participation throughout the United States and (6) provide equitable support and encouragement for participation by women where separate programs for male and female athletes are conducted on a national basis.

USA Boxing is currently on probation for a variety of reasons (although I am not sure if it is related to gender discrimination). Historically, women were not even allowed to box by USA Boxing until it was forced to allow their participation by a court injunction in 1993. The first U.S. Women’s Nationals tournament under USA Boxing was not held until 1997. The first Women’s World Championships were held in 2001.

USA Boxing’s Constitution and By-Laws, Article III, 203.1 states that its purposes shall be consistent with those of the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act. Amongst those enumerated purposes are “To coordinate those programs and activities which contribute to the development of individual skills during local, regional, national and international programs and activities, regardless of….gender…”, to “provide an equal opportunity to amateur athletes, coaches…to participate in amateur athletic competition, without discrimination on the basis of…gender….” and under Article IV, 204.2, to “Provide equitable support and encouragement for participation by women.”

Amongst its membership, USA Boxing chooses to recognize group members such as the National Golden Gloves. Group members must abide by the Group Membership Agreement and abide by all USA Boxing sport rules, regulations and policies. Article VI, 206.1.

The Group Membership Agreement states that the objectives and purposes of the group member must coincide with those of USA Boxing, that the group member agrees to adhere to and comply with all the official rules, regulations and policies of USA Boxing, and that it will hold national championship tournaments in which progressive elimination begins at the local level. Given the above-referenced sections of the USA Boxing Constitution, it is not and cannot be the policy of USA Boxing and therefore the Golden Gloves to discriminate against women.

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