At the Expo — A Women’s Rights Reminder

The first women (then illegal) to complete the Boston Marathon

Good Day, God!

Kit and I pushed and jostled our way through the Boston Marathon Expo this afternoon. A BIG CROWD! And with over 25,000 runners that’s no surprise.

What WAS a SURPRISE was seeing this booth with Katherine Switzer signing books and posing for photographs. She was the first woman to run Boston with a bib number — which she got because she signed up with her initials. It was 1967 and it was a FOR MEN ONLY race.

Bobbi Gibb had run it the year before — also “illegally,” or do they refer to it as “unofficially” now days? No, I just looked and they refer to it as “unsanctioned.”

I knew about marathons not “allowing” women runners, God. In fact, we know Jacqueline Hansen, who brought a lawsuit against the Olympic committee to get them to allow women to run the marathon — which they did in 1984.

Still, it was a SURPRISE for me — because I had forgotten. I had not erased it from my memory, God. I had just sort of lost sight of it. We “forget” a lot of things like that — at least I do.

Katherine Switzer’s case got more publicity because a race official tried to pull her off the course and her running companion shoved the official — all captured on camera and widely published. Of course, the result of all that publicity wasn’t to let women run! The result was that the AAU banned women from running in meets with men or they would lose the right to compete. The longest run the AAU had for women was 1.5 miles.

I guess women were not considered physically able to run — shades of women as the weaker sex! All of this is laughable now, God. But, gender inequities are no laughing matter. Especially in other parts of the world that are busy “protecting” women.

Well, we could certainly do a better job protecting children, God — all over the world.  Meanwhile, Thank You, God, for the reminder of how far we women have come — and how much further we have to go.

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Story teller,

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Posted in gender universes, grit, Marathons

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