Extra large pair

That was the headline on BBC World News. Today.

As a BBC editor it was often tempting to put boobs on the front page of worldservice.com in order to increase traffic. As it happens, in my time there the team did manage it twice, though only once was intentional, and I never find out how PJ O’Rourke felt about his appearance in the monthly ‘boob club’.

Any editor loves a good boob joke. But this one was about pairs of elephants working together to solve problems. It seems that elephants know something intrinsically that I’m still learning.

Yesterday, March 8 was International Women’s Day. According to The World Economic Forum, with high literacy and education rates, tiny Lesotho is one of the best places to be born a woman. One in five government ministers is female, whereas in Cameron’s cabinet it’s less than 25%.

At Kobra gym there is indeed a  disparity amongst the sexes. One in 5 students are women, but we go through the same training regime as the men and the atmosphere is not overly macho. People are here to learn and everyone respects that. I think while it remains so brutal Muay Thai will remain predominently a male domain, whereas women will often rule the roost in kickboxing as our flexibility and speed is an advantage.

I love the fact that Italian women are up in arms about Berlusconi too. His alleged antics with an underage prostitute, infamous parties and questionable appointments of pneumatic young women have been demeaning to women across Italy. According to the WEF, Italy ranks 74th place in gender equality, behind Paraguay, Ghana and Kyrgysztan. Though if you’re to believe the United Nations Gender Inequality Index (2008) it fares much better and certainly ahead of Britain. This didn’t stop half a million women taking to the streets in protest in February. And Il Berlusca is going to have to face a woman judge in his trial on 6 April, so I’m looking forward to that. Not since Giulio Andreotti and Bettino Craxi have Italian PMs been in the dock. Let’s see what the forthcoming trial brings for the slippery septagenarian.

This Saturday, my friend Sali is having a bit of a do to show her support for women’s projects around the world.  Just a small party to raise awareness and funds [Sal, have you got a Just Giving page?]. Sadly I won’t be there, but having spent some time in India and Africa I have seen first hand the difference taking on independent projects can make for women; whether it’s learning tailoring to help escape an abusive relationship or whether it’s forming a small baking baking group to bring in money to the community to help educate children. So although many of us Western (and Lesothan) women live in a relatively equal society, when I’m only allowed to climb into the Muay Thai ring under the last rope to show my subservience as a woman, I spare a thought for those less fortunate.

What I learnt today:

1. Coco pops for breakfast doth not a fighter make.

2. I want one of these.

3. My training here is getting me really excited for The Martial Arts Show in Birmingham in May. Anyone else up for it? I wonder how many women will be there?

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