Women train Muay thai in Thailand
Women are becoming a lot more involved in martial arts and physical fitness in this modern era. Gone are the days where it was exclusive to the male folk. Though at the moment there is no organized official ranking for women similar to that of men but it won't be too long anymore. The huge changes which have come over the past decade really have to be seen to be believed.
Muay Thai in its present form developed in the 1920's. Over the years, the incidences of women involvement were very few and far between. This was not due solely to oppressive men; it was also the fact that women had no interest.
Back in the beginning when Muay thai was purely a martial art means for attack and defense, women known as Khunying Mae-Yamo (respected mother) fought alongside their men. In the 1960's and 70's when gender changes swept the world, things began to change. Unfortunately, the renaissance was short lived because but not limited to an incident in the late 1970's where all the fights organized by a female tv producer ended up with serious cuts and injuries. This sent a subconscious message that women didn't belong anywhere near a boxing ring and that was followed by an unofficial ban on women's fights.
During this period of recess, training camps around the country still ran in house female fights. Most of the time, these were daughters of gym owners. But for a longtime, nothing major was organized just underground and under the radar.
In 1998, there was a major boost which was facilitated by the world Muay Thai council. As this body is largely composed of foreigners, there was more openness to promoting women's fights. This was a major boost to the sport, as it was televised for 2 years. This also helped to encourage thousands of women around the country.
Many western women have been put off by the stories of neglect in the camp, no opportunity of a fight, fights in go-go bars etc. sadly, this was or is all true. However, with the increased number of fights for women here, camps are more willing to invest the time now to train women. For non fighters, there are quite a few camps now that will take you in and give you the same training they would give a farang (foreigner/outsider) male.
For anyone who is a fight at home mom, a 2-3 weeks session at a Muay Thai training camp will do wonders for your technique and skills and also your fitness levels. Weight loss would also be a convenient bonus.
The thing about being a woman is that you cannot just walk into any camp - you need to focus on the camps which take foreigners. Camps which are open to foreigners and our weird ways are more receptive to the notion of a woman in their space.