Filling Mother's Day baskets with all sorts of goodies, handmade and locally sourced – today with my Board of Directors! So excited about this fundraiser – let us know if you would like a basket! www.mainelygirls.org... See MoreSee Less
Mainely Girls will be at the Trash & Treasure Sale at the Presque Isle Forum this weekend, selling the best junk that our Board of Directors could collectively exhibit! Empower food, oddities, and art fodder! We are also pre-selling Mother's Day Baskets with handmade and locally sourced goodies! Come check out our tables in the far corner of the forum, Saturday and Sunday! ... See MoreSee Less
Kathrine Switzer’s experience as the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon is a dramatic illustration of the barriers that female athletes had to overcome and of how far girls and women in sports have come in only a few decades. Switzer was a 20-year-old college student at Syracuse University in 1967 when she registered for the race using her initials, K.V. Switzer. Not realizing that she was a woman, who were barred from participating in the Boston Marathon for over 70 years, race officials issued her an entry number.
During the race, marathon official Jock Semple attempted to physically remove Switzer from the marathon after discovering she was female. Other runners, including Switzer’s boyfriend Tom Miller, blocked Semple and she was able to complete the marathon. Photographs of the incident and the story of Switzer’s participation in the marathon made global headlines. Switzer's record-setting run as the Boston Marathon’s first registered female runner came one year after the historic run of Bobbi Gibb, who disguised herself and snuck in to run the marathon in 1966.
After the marathon, Switzer became deeply engaged in efforts to increase girls’ and women’s access to sports and she and other women runners finally convinced the Boston Athletic Association to drop their discriminatory policies and allow women to participate in 1972. Today, nearly half of Boston Marathon entrants are female. Switzer also helped lead the drive for the inclusion of a women’s marathon in the Olympic Games -- a victory which was achieved at long last with the first women's marathon at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
As for the individuals captured in this dramatic moment, Semple later publicly apologized to Switzer and the two reconciled. After the rule was changed to allow women in the marathon, he became a staunch supporter of women racers. Looking back at what she called the “great shoving incident," Switzer reflected, "these moments change your life and change the sport. Everybody’s belief in their own capability changed in that one moment, and a negative incident turned into one of the most positive.”
To read more about Kathrine Switzer's inspirational story, we highly recommend her autobiography, "Marathon Woman: Running the Race to Revolutionize Women's Sports," which you can find at amzn.to/1o1607x
For a fantastic book about 22 trailblazing women runners, including Switzer, check out “First Ladies of Running: 22 Inspiring Profiles of the Rebels, Rule Breakers, and Visionaries Who Changed the Sport Forever,” at amzn.to/1Vbcljj
For several Mighty Girl stories that celebrate the joy of running, we recommend the bilingual picture book “We Are Girls Who Love to Run / Somos Chicas Y a Nosostras Nos Encanta Correr” for ages 4 to 8 (www.amightygirl.com/we-are-girls-who-love-to-run) and “The Running Dream” for ages 12 and up (www.amightygirl.com/the-running-dream).
And, for a fantastic t-shirt that speaks to the fact that strength has nothing to do with gender, check out the “I'm not strong for a girl. I'm just strong.” t-shirt for both kids and adults at www.amightygirl.com/strong-t-shirt
Plus, tips on Instagram & difficult emotions. In case you missed it, here's the latest tools & resources from our blog. How to be Unafraid in Asking for What You Want by Laura Clydesdale, Girls Leadership Contributing Author Girls are given the message at an early age to focus on other’s needs inste...
Though I did go to work to teach tonight, I address and celebrate women's' lives everyday by working and creating with Mainely Girls GIRLS! <3 ... See MoreSee Less
On October 24, 1975, in a remarkable display of solidarity and determination, Iceland’s women went on strike for equal rights. They refused to go to their jobs, do housework, or perform childcare, all to show the importance of women in their society. Incredibly, 90% of women in Iceland participated in the strike. Of those, 25,000 women -- almost 12% of Iceland’s population at the time -- took to the streets of Reykjavik in a demonstration while other protests were held in towns across the country. The historic strike was called Women’s Day Off and it’s gone down in Icelandic history as the beginning of a dramatic change in the status of women -- and the first step toward Iceland becoming “the world’s most feminist country.”
Although the right of Icelandic women to vote was recognized in 1915, by 1975, there were still only three sitting female Members of Parliament, less than 5%. Across the country, women faced discrimination at work, including lower pay and fewer job opportunities. The progress being made in other Nordic countries, where women held 16 to 23% of parliamentary seats and had more recourse against discrimination, was frustrating women’s right activists in Iceland. A women’s group called the Red Stockings was the first to propose a strike, but it was initially considered too confrontational by many. After the event was renamed the Women’s Day Off and framed in such a way as to show the many ways Iceland’s women contributed to the country, it secured near universal support.
When the day of the protest came, many companies were forced to close for the day; schools and daycares kept their doors shut. Fathers ended up taking their children to work and easy to prepare foods like sausages were sold out in many grocery stores. Meanwhile, women took to the streets to listen to speeches and discuss how they could improve their nation. The majority of men were supportive of the effort: Styrmir Gunnarsson, who was the co-editor of the conservative paper Morgunbladid at the time, said, “I do not think that I have ever supported a strike but I did not see this action as a strike. It was a demand for equal rights… it was a positive event.” He added that "Probably most people underestimated this day's impact at that time -- later both men and women began to realize that it was a watershed."
Vigdís Finnbogadóttir says her life was particularly changed by the Women’s Day Off -- she would go on to become Europe’s first female president in 1980, a move she insists could not have happened without the protest. “What happened that day was the first step for women's emancipation in Iceland," she explained. "It completely paralyzed the country and opened the eyes of many men… Things went back to normal the next day, but with the knowledge that women are as well as men the pillars of society. So many companies and institutions came to a halt and it showed the force and necessity of women -- it completely changed the way of thinking.”
The impact of the changes that this show of power by women helped foster are obvious in Iceland today -- women now hold 41% of the seats in parliament and the country has been ranked number one in the world for gender equality by the World Economic Forum for seven years in a row. For her part, Finnbogadóttir, who served as Iceland’s president for 16 years, will always look back with fondness on that historic day when women stood together: “There was a tremendous power in it all and a great feeling of solidarity and strength among all those women standing on the square in the sunshine.”
If you're participating in today's "A Day Without A Woman" action by striking or wearing red, please tell us about your actions in the comments below.
One of our favorite t-shirts features a quote which fits these women perfectly: "Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History" -- it's available for all ages at www.amightygirl.com/well-behaved-women-history-shirt
For an excellent new book about 40 pioneering women who challenged their societies' limitations on women, we highly recommend "Rad Women Worldwide" for ages 10 and up at www.amightygirl.com/rad-women-worldwide
To introduce children to courageous women who stood up for themselves and all women, we highly recommend "I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark" for ages 5 to 9 (www.amightygirl.com/i-dissent), "I am Rosa Parks" for ages 4 to 8 (www.amightygirl.com/i-am-rosa-parks-1), and "For The Right To Learn: Malala Yousafzai's Story" for ages 7 to 10 (www.amightygirl.com/for-the-right-to-learn)
And, for more books for children and teens about trailblazing female role models who didn't let social conventions hold them back, visit A Mighty Girl's "Role Model Biography" section at www.amightygirl.com/books/history-biography/biography