Self-confident and strong – Jordan’s women hit back | DW Documentary


More and more young women in Jordan are breaking with traditional roles. Wearing headscarves and boxing gloves, they enter the ring to spar. Training to fight isn’t just sport: it also teaches defense against violence and oppression.

In religiously conservative Jordan, more and more women are breaking free of traditional gender expectations. The documentary follows 31-year-old Bedouin Reem al-Shammary, Jordan’s featherweight champion. She trains alongside male boxers and with young female fighters in her own boxing gym, where a new generation of self-confident women is springing up. Very few of them will go on to a professional career in the ring. But the sport will teach them things they will carry with them for life.

Away from the ring, Reem al-Shammary is also a fighter. As an elected city counselor, she takes on conservative men who want to confine women to outmoded roles. In a Palestinian refugee camp, she investigates the case of a girl who was forced into marriage, and gives her support. In the desert, she encourages young Bedouin women to defy their fathers and return to school. She even fights against entrenched ideas within her own family. In addition to all this, Reem al-Shammary has set her sights on training to qualify for the Olympics, a journey with ups and downs and some self-doubt. Can she make her dreams come true?

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