On a cold winter’s morning in Boston in 1967 KV (Kathrine) Switzer was totally clueless that she was about to change the world when she lined up alongside the other runners at the marathon start line. When she had registered for the race with her initials rather than her full first name she hadn’t known that women were banned from running, and dressed in her baggy grey sweatpants she fit right in with the rest of the runners. Four kilometres in to the run an official tried to stop her and both her boyfriend and running coach pushed the angry man out of the way, allowing her to continue and complete the run meaning she was the first woman to ever officially run. Kathrine and her bib number, 261, have inspired the name of the 261 Women’s Marathon and 10k races, one of which will be run this Sunday March 8th (International Women’s Day) in Palma. You can see more information here at http://www.261wm.com. I was planning on running with my friends from the Country Club gym in Santa Ponça, but after a broken toe and a back injury I’ve had to rethink that. So instead I will turn up and cheer and take a few photos before retiring to the Diner in Santa Catalina and eating pancakes (joke, that’s a joke, I’ll only have one pancake). The starting pistol will be fired at 9am in front of the Cathedral.
It’s amazing isn’t it that we take all of this for granted, when less than fifty years ago it was considered improper and dangerous for a woman to run a marathon. Still women suffer from terrible abuse and injustices in many countries. I’ve been reading some accounts of an Indian man involved in that Bus Rape who says women should just stay quiet and let themselves be raped. Isn’t that the most appalling thing? Can you imagine a time when that was considered normal where you live? I suppose there was a time. But I am very happy that this time is over and any right thinking person I know would be just as disgusted as I am by this man.
I haven’t ever really experienced direct sexism. Perhaps it just washes over me, or I overcome it, I’m not sure. I was raised to be quite independent: my mother and my grandmother were both very influential to me as I was growing up. I also went to an all girls’ school where we were expected to just get on with it and achieve; we weren’t in anyone’s shadow. I am raising my daughter to be exactly the same. I think it’s a shame that the word “Feminist” has been given such a strange and negative image, and I am very happy that I married to a man who says he is a feminist. But then I wouldn’t have married him if he weren’t.
Equality is the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day event at Mood Beach in Costa D’en Blanes, Calvia, so we have renamed it International People’s Day. The event is free to enjoy on Saturday March 7th from 12 noon until 2pm, then there is a networking lunch. There will be free wellness treatments, opportunities to hook up with new and old friends, have your portrait taken and support local charities. You can get more info and book on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Come and celebrate being different and completely the same as the other 50% of Planet Earth.