Dear Feminists, Trail Sisters, Silence Breakers, and every other brave soul who currently identifies as a woman,
Thank you. At home, at work, on the trail, thank you for being there. For being you. Today is International Women's Day. A global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Today means different things to different people. To me, today is a day to identify opportunities to advance gender parity, and to celebrate the women in my life. To all of those who I have shared a work space, a trail, or an experience with, I am so grateful for you.
We have made progress; we still have a lot of work to do.
- Overall, women earn 80 cents for every dollar earned by men.
- Women in politics is increasing — sluggishly. Women make up 51% of the population, but only 19% of Congress and only a quarter of state legislatures.
- Access to birth control, maternity care and breastfeeding supplies is not guaranteed. Globally, 800 women die from preventable complications during pregnancy and childbirth every day.
- One in 3 women have been a victim of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner, and one in six American women will be the victim of an attempted or completed sexual assault.
- The statistics go on and on.
Many of us retreat to nature, to the trails, to seek reprieve against these, at times, overwhelmingly oppressive forces. Many of us quickly realize that the same factors that perpetuate and threaten women in a professional, medical, home, and social setting follow us outside. Prior to every run I find myself thinking carefully through clothing and timing. I like wearing shorts; I do not like getting catcalled. I like running alone; I do not like being followed. I like running at night; I do not like being threatened. I like being a woman; I do not like how I do not think about clothing or timing or safety when I run alongside a man.
To my Trail Sisters, continue to show up, and to build one another up. Protect our rights and our sacred space on the trails. Lean on one another and share your story. Your power is in your voice. Choose words that empower. Do not let those who fear your power take your voice away. It is yours. Let go of comparison and judgment; everyone is doing the very best they can in any given moment with what they have and what they know. Demonstrate the level of empathy to others that is necessary to inspire change.
To the men in my life who demonstrate humility and understanding, thank you. I am so grateful for you. Thank you for recognizing that these are not just women's issues, they are human rights issues, that WE are all victims of a patriarchal society and that achieving women's equality will require a collective effort and understanding. Every day.
- You never asked for it.
- You absolutely should have worn that.
- You are not too uptight.
- You are strong, brave, and beautiful.
- You are not alone.
“Whatever feminism you choose — good, bad, flawed, or half-assed — the label isn't something to fear. It doesn't mean you want too much or despise men. It means you believe in the equality and rights of everyone.” - Roxane Gay
#InternationalWomensDay #IWD2018 #PressForProgress #TrailSisiters #RunWithHer #MeToo #TimesUp #HerStoryOurStory #NotThere yet.