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Katie Taylor is from Ireland, and is mostly known for her boxing skills. But she has also achieved considerable success playing football, also having represented her country playing with the national teams, at the U-17 and U-19 age levels.
However, it is within the boxing world where Katie has come to contribute so much to women everywhere as a fine role model. As a female boxer Katie has consistently had to defend her talents and abilities as being equal to men. In addition she has also come up against public concern at the involvement of a woman in such a typically masculine sport. Katie has challenged traditional gender roles by being a talented fighter and sportsperson, as well as illustrating that women can be competitive and strong, traits traditionally associated with men. Taylor has become an inspiring ambassador for women’s boxing in Ireland while also acting as a spokesperson on the issue of gender inequality in boxing, speaking out against the inability of women to compete in Olympic boxing. She is a strong advocate of gender equality in boxing and is hoping for the inclusion of women’s boxing in the 2012 Olympic Games.
Katie’s modest yet brave demeanour and her charisma has gained her respect from all sections of the community. In Ireland, she is considered a national treasure and a role model for all young sports people but especially for young women and most especially for young women in what are perceived to be non-traditional female sports. Her wins have been wins not just for her country but also for young sportswomen everywhere. Many young women in Ireland will say they took up sport because they were inspired by Katie Taylor.
Given that sports plays such an integral part in the lives of communities and nations all over the world, equality of opportunity between women and men to participate in sports is vital. Gender stereotypes in sports are strongly entrenched in all sorts of ways, and most strongly in what are perceived to be non-traditional sports, for one gender or the other. Katie had made huge in-roads in breaking down gender stereotypes in the field of boxing for women, which has had a significant knock-on effect in other sports.