NAVIGATION

Today is a Day for All Women

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Today millions of women around the world are showing solidarity like never before seen in modern history. Women today around the world are coming together in peaceful protest to exclaim we are here and we will not be silenced.

This is not the first time in history women have stood up for themselves and wanted more. Over 100 years ago women were being thrown in prisons around the world requesting their right to vote. Then fifty years later the movement was ignited again with women wanting to have the same jobs and opportunities of those men around them.

Then something happened we started to advance but in small steps. We became complacent with the advancements. Then recently, shows like Good Girls Revolt, Hidden Figures, and others showed that while we may feel we have come far, we still have a long way to go for equality. With the recent political environment, women are thrust again to make their voices known.

Photo Credit: CNN

Photo Credit: CNN

While we have no idea the outcome of this latest protest and civil discourse we can all agree that more people are fired up to stand up for what they want more than ever.

I sit here at my house in the middle of a snowstorm observing what is happening around the world with tears of joy and compassion in my eyes as I witness so many out there making themselves known. Not staying silent.

As I watch all the marches around the world, I think of the times in my life where my gender had a direct impact on how I was treated by those around me. I spent my twenties coaching athletes. Often I was the only female coach out of fifteen to twenty coaches on staff. Also one of the youngest. Couple those two things together and daily I was faced with additional struggles to my male counterparts.

One such occurrence that has affected me deeply:

While coaching my athletes at the start line a parent came into the area for coaches and athletes only. This father came in and milled around after knowing this was not where parents were supposed to be. I asked him politely to leave the area as according to state rules parents were not allowed in this area.  The man wrapped his arm around me and said, “Don’t ever tell me what to do. It will make your life better.” Then tapped me on the back twice and said, “OKAY?” and walked away. 

I was a blown away and had no words. I went on taking care of my athletes suppressing emotions and focusing on the work that needed to be done. Then left the area and skied down to one of my other coaches, told him the story in tears of anger and sadness, not knowing the correct emotion. Our head coach did not back me up, and instead, I was told I should just avoid this parent in the future and let him do what he wants. I am sure had I been a male and older this outcome would not have been the same. 

This was the first time I was so aware of my gender and age. This was my first step into the world of being aware of my womanhood and how it affected how those around me viewed me. 

This is not the only incident that happened like this while I was coaching. There were many times that because of my gender and age I was ignored and the male coach that was working under me was talked to first. Luckily, I worked with some great guys along the way that, helped direct the people. But being a female in a male-dominated industry the incidents over the ten years I coached were too numerous to count.

Today, while in a different industry I still see some of the same sentiment. From the phone calls with people, I am interviewing call me “darling,” “dear,” “missy,” or “young lady.” As a thirty something I hear these terms still at least once a week. About my work, I have had people call me “XXXX’s Pet,” “bitch,” “stupid,” “dumb,” “an idiot,” and my favorite “bat shit crazy.” When people haven’t agreed with my work, I have been accused of just “being on my period.” Because we women can’t have a controversial opinion without it being prompted by hormones or menstrual cycles.

What is the point of this post, not sure, but maybe it’s just one more woman telling her experience and her story and hoping that while I am not out marching today that my words can serve as a motivation to at least one person? If nothing else it is a reminder to myself to keep the course, keep fighting for women, and keep working and showing through actions that we can do what we want and deserve equality across the board for all.

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Margaret Schlachter

About Margaret Schlachter

Margaret Schlachter is Founder of DirtinYourSkirt.com. She has been part of the OCR Community since 2010. When not working on the next article she can be found running from race-to-race. She is Editor-in-Chief of MudRunGuide.com. She authored the book Obstacle Race Training.
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