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In Her Own Words

In Her Own Words

Why We All Need to Celebrate Women’s History

by Gwen Jorgensen

Women’s History Month is a time to honor women, past and present, who have made the world a better place. Women have always been present on Earth, but not always recognized. Women behind the scenes need to be seen. Toys, shows, and media portray women in certain roles which leads to a never-ending cycle of generations brainwashed into thinking women should only do certain things. The reality is women have paved the way for others for years. Women fought for others to work, vote, run and be seen. WHM is all about celebrating that freedom.

It used to be thought that women would literally die if they ran too long. In 1967, Katherine Switzer proved this wrong as the  first woman to run a marathon and survive. We now know women are actually better than men at running longer distances. What other assumptions do we consciously and subconsciously make about women that are absurdly incorrect? 

Gwen Jorgenson stands outside, looking into the camera with a slight smile with her arms crossed.

The reality is women have paved the way for others for years. Women fought for others to work, vote, run and be seen. WHM is all about celebrating that freedom.

Gwen Jorgenson

In college I remember being constantly reminded that I was only able to run at a D1 school because of the football team. Even though our women’s volleyball and hockey teams brought in money, outsiders didn’t acknowledge this. We were made, as women, to feel inferior. After college I started in the sport of triathlon, which was paving the way for equality in race payouts. Men and women were paid the same at events, something that should not be a novelty. Although there was equal pay from prize money, sponsorships and contracts are where the majority of money is made and this information is sealed. No one can prove that men are making more money than women. I believe there are still plenty of ways to close the gender inequality gap. For example, in the Ironman triathlon distance more men than women are invited to race. We have come a long way since 1920 when women gained the right to vote, but we still have a long way to go before we see true equality.

I hope you will join me in speaking out and up for women’s rights in sports that need our help most: USA soccer and basketball to name a few. Join me in advocating for women’s rights through educating ourselves and others about gender inequality and through purchases at women-owned businesses. Lastly, make sure to watch women’s sports. March Madness isn’t just for men. Women are playing too. Make sure to fill out a Women’s March Madness bracket and tune in to all the games for exciting, riveting entertainment.

With your help we can break barriers in stereotypes.

Gwen Jorgensen is an Olympic distance runner and former professional triathlete. She was the 2014 and 2015 ITU World Triathlon Series Champion, was named USA Triathlon’s 2013 and 2014 Olympic/ITU Female Athlete of the Year and represented the United States in the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games, winning the USA’s first ever triathlon Gold medal in 2016. She has been an AFH Member Athlete for over 5 years. Learn more about Gwen here.