One of my (recent) hobbies is to do half marathons across the world; with the focus to do routes/runs that are scenic, popular and that give me an opportunity to visit and see new places. Also a side-benefit – these are popular ones with a fair number of runners ranging from few thousands to more than 35,000!
The gender mix in these races are quite evenly matched. For example, in my most recent half marathon; the Rock’n’Roll Virginia Beach Half; more than 3400 out of the total 6100 runners were female. And I have seen similar gender mix in most of the events I have participated in.
Most of these events get a decent amount of eyeballs as the city folks turn out to cheer or just watch the proceedings. Some of them get actively involved, offering drinks or chocolates. I have seen folks offer beer, scotch as well as margaritas to the runners!
One common theme I have noticed in most of these events is ladies coming out to cheer; and more than once I have seen them shouting – “Go ladies! You can do it!” to every female runner they see. No harm in this – everyone has a right to cheer/encourage others. But do you really need to cheer a specific gender in events that have equal status for both sexes?
I understand the history behind the (absence of) involvement of the fairer sex in these athletic events. But this is 2016. Until we believe in it completely (and behave accordingly), we aren’t going to change others.
And that belief – men and women are equal; should push one to consider both sexes are same. We don’t need to push the case for one, unless there is an oppression for the same.