Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day. I strongly believe in diversity and inclusion. I’m an engineer, a vocation that has typically been dominated by men (particularly when I was in university). In my first job out of university I worked in the oil and gas industry in South Texas. This particular job didn’t attract a lot of females because the hours were long and hard and involved working in remote locations. I worked 10 days on, 3 days off and was on call 24 hours a day. If I had to go to the bathroom I had to drive away from my location until I was out of sight, and then I had to hope I didn’t encounter a snake as I attempted to hide behind a cactus. I was the first woman that many of the men on my team had worked with. There were challenges without a doubt, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me.
I admit to being baffled when I hear women declare that they aren’t feminists. As a woman wouldn’t you want equality for women? Maybe women are afraid of the term feminist. By definition feminism is the pursuit for equal political, economic, cultural, personal, and social rights for women. Ultimately I’d like to see more women at the table in business…more girls entering math and sciences… Not for the sake of having more women but because they are talented and smart and that deserves to be encouraged.
I loved Emma Watson’s speech at the UN regarding the He For She campaign. If you haven’t listened to it yet, here it is.
How does this relate to triathlon? I didn’t realize that there wasn’t equal representation for pro women at the Ironman World Championship in Kona. There are 35 slots for the women versus 50 slots for the pro men. Would equal slots for men and women be detrimental to the sport? I think having equal representation for women gives that many more role models for women and girls in sport.
I’ve loved watching people that I’ve followed through their blogs discover triathlon, dominate their age groups and then take on the challenge of turning pro. I’m thinking of Beth Gerdes, Kim Schwabenbauer, and Charisa Wernick just to name a few. They have inspired me and hopefully other young up and comers will inspire other women as they decide to try their first triathlon.
There are some very talented women in this sport. Let’s give them an equal shot to show what they are made of when they race the best of the best.
How do you feel about the #50womentokona initiative?
Looking for more? Here’s some great reading:
- An Open Letter to the Ironman / Lifetime Board of Advisors
- International Women’s Day Call to Action
- Equality for Female Pros: A personal note by Sara Gross
- 35 Does Not Equal 50 by Kelly Burns Gallagher