Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Elle-vation

March 8th is International Women's Day, and as you've surely heard by now, the organizers of January's Women's March on Washington are staging a one-day demonstration of economic solidarity, A Day Without a Woman. Although just a few hours without women sounds like my version of hell, I'm in full support of this idea. And while I'm not in a position to take the day off of my paid work (in a non-profit social service organization staffed entirely by women, whose striking would come at great cost to the families that we serve) I can certainly wear the prescribed red, and avoid spending money for the day. I've read a couple of good posts this week on what those of us who aren't striking can do to support this effort to recognize "the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system," and it's got me thinking about some broader changes I can make as a consumer, a citizen, a friend, and a runner, to live in more conscious support of other women.

Vivacity Sportswear
Buying from women. My city doesn't have a women's Chamber of Commerce (that I know of), but it's not difficult to find woman-owned businesses if you try. I can make the effort to seek out local, national, and online business that are owned and run by women, and support the other members of my local women's co-working community, Hera Hub. I can buy my running clothes from woman-owned, woman-run, and woman-positive companies like Oiselle and Vivacity Sportswear, and support businesses that promote healthy, positive images of women in their marketing messages. Buying from women also means supporting their art, and I commit myself to consciously consuming more movies, theater, music, art, and writing that are produced by women. Send me your suggestions!

Donating to organizations that support women. I've long supported several organizations that promote the well-being of women and girls - and I don't just mean through my annual purchase of way too many boxes of Girl Scout cookies. I donate regularly to a few charitable causes - and irregularly to many more - but because I'm a social worker, I think I've always allowed myself to feel a little "off the hook" as far as volunteerism is concerned. This year that changes, though, and I'll be spending my spring and summer serving as an ambassador for the #Run4AllWomen project, helping to raise awareness and funds for Planned Parenthood and women's improved access to healthcare services. Stay tuned for more updates.

Wilma Rudolph elevated women's
track and field by earning three gold
medals in the first televised Olympics
(Rome, 1960), and went on to become a
pioneer in the civil and women's
rights movements.
Know my history. I have a degree in Women's Studies (History), and am embarrassed to admit just how much I've forgotten since then. I haven't done enough to keep our history active, alive, and in plain view in my life, but this is something I can change. Every day this month, I'm highlighting a bit of women's history that's of interest to me through The Runner's Hi's Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts, and I hope it's of some interest to some of you, too! I've enjoyed researching some of these pivotal characters and moments in American history, and getting to know more about the women runners who shaped this sport I love so deeply.

Lifting up other women. I know how little it takes for me to feel raised up by another person, and how much I can do while floating on the steam generated by other people's engines. Countless crappy runs have been salvaged by a stranger's smile and wave hello, and many of my accomplishments in life can be credited to the encouragement of someone who thought I had it in me. I have a beautiful friend named Karen who does this better than anyone I know. Always there with a kind word, holding up mirrors to remind her friends of how strong and marvelous they are, attending their events, backing their ideas, honoring their requests, joining their teams, celebrating their triumphs, and comforting them in their defeats. I want the world to have more Karen in it, so I'm going to start with me. I'm dusting off my cowbell, and ladies: I'm ready to cheer you on. Let me know if there's something you need. Otherwise, I'll just be over here on the sidelines, hooting and hollering in your general direction.

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