Ten women’s boxing coaches from India traded the ring for the classroom as they joined Sport Management professors in Gerri C. LeBow Hall for a cultural exchange of ideas and insights. As part of the U.S. Department of State’s Sports Diplomacy Division program, the coaches were visiting Philadelphia to examine boxing and women’s empowerment through sports in the United States.
The coaches’ trip focused on learning athletic training skills, but also sought to equip them to emerge as leaders as they work with underserved communities and support continuing efforts to promote women’s empowerment and inclusiveness. As a part of that effort, Evan Campbell, International Sports, Cultural, and Youth Program Officer at the nonprofit human development organization FHI360, reached out to Professor Ellen Staurowsky in LeBow’s Sport Management Department and arranged for the coaches to visit Drexel.
Having the coaches visit LeBow provided an “invaluable opportunity…to discuss Title IX and gender equity in the U.S. sport system and to share ideas regarding best practices in coaching youth and adolescent female athletes,” says Staurowsky. They visited her Sport, Industry, and Society class, giving students the opportunity to learn from the group, which included six-time Indian national boxing champion Lekha Kozhummel Chettadi.
During the academic portion of their time in Philadelphia, the group also met with Assistant Clinical Professor Jeffrey Levine to discuss his research in the area of sport for development and peace. “It was a privilege to meet with the group,” says Levine. “I was pleased to be able to provide some information and suggested best practices to aid them once they return to India and implement their own program focusing on boxing and women’s empowerment.”