Fencing, often referred to as a physical game of chess, is an organized sport involving the use of a sword, épée, foil, or saber for attack and defense according to set movements and rules. Fencing, one of the first nine sports included in the first Olympic Games in 1896, has a long history. This paper has systematically reviewed literature and evaluated the role of fencing in the empowerment of women through a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods including first-hand observation, interviews, archival analysis, and secondary statistical data collection. It has attempted to narrow the empirical gap by exploring the gender perspective of fencing as a sport. It reveals that due to historical, social and cultural bias, financial constraints, as well as a lack of leadership, women’s involvement in fencing had been limited throughout fencing’s history. Since the 2nd half of the 19th century, fencing has witnessed tremendous strides in breaking the barriers influenced by the changing society propelled by a long history of feminist and civil rights activists who took a blend of the consciousness-raising and organizing approach and the pragmatic approach. Women’s fencing shows a history of breaking barriers, and with the enacting of Title IX to eliminate gender discrimination in sports and education it is the most significant turning point. Title IX has not only broadened and deepened the scope and participation of women in fencing but also made fencing an enabler and driver to enhance women’s grit and leadership, leading to the empowerment of women in society. The paper develops a framework to highlight the linkage between Title IX, women’s fencing, and empowerment. The impact of Title IX on women with fencing as an enabler and drivers is far-reaching. It has widened the scope of women in fencing by reaching the general public and deepened the scope of women’s fencing by raising the visibility of this women’s sport in national and international arenas.
Liu, Grace Chenxin
"Breaking the Barriers in Women’s Fencing: Historical Roots, Title IX and Empowerment of Women,"
Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 24:
3, Article 6.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol24/iss3/6