Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

First Woman in Boston Marathon 1967

I saw this amazing photo on AOL news today; it shows a Boston Marathon official in 1967 trying to pull the lone woman runner, Katherine Switzer, out of the race, trying to pull her numbers off her as she ran. He’s yelling “Get the hell out of MY race!”

Fortunately, one of her fellow runners was a football player who blocked the official and pushed him away. At this point, in 1967, the Boston Marathon was still all-male. She finished the race, the first woman to do so, ever.

1967. That’s only 46 years ago. Women didn’t do marathons in the Olympics, either. We take so much for granted now, and we’ve only so recently made the gains.


Screen shot 2014-04-21 at 8.33.47 PM

April 21, 2014 - Posted by | Women's Issues | ,


  1. “You’ve come a long way, baby.” 🙂

    Comment by Desert Girl | April 22, 2014 | Reply

  2. My daughters, aged 31 and 25, thank me on occasion for my(and my generation’s) efforts/actions that made life easier for them as women. We frequently talk about the things I dealt with that are just not issues for them in the workplace or other arenas these days. I will say it is satisfying to know they are aware of the work done by those who came before them.

    Comment by momcatwa | April 22, 2014 | Reply

  3. It’s worse, Desert Girl. I remember going to the bank with my mother, who wanted to write her own name on the checks, not Mrs. somebody. She said it was her money. I don’t know if she prevailed, or no, but I remember how shocked the man at the bank was that she would want to write her own name. I was proud of my mother for taking the time to make her point, whether she got her way or not. When I was first married, it was still hard for women to get credit cards in their own names, other than department store credit cards. When we bought our first car, my husband encouraged me to take the loan, so I would build my own credit (military man, thinking about my welfare if something happened to him.)

    Momcat – they THANK you??? Wow. Most of them take it all for granted! Good for you for talking to them all these years about issues. Good girls!!!

    Comment by intlxpatr | April 22, 2014 | Reply

  4. My mother was up working 3 days after she gave birth to me because she was in danger of being fired by her employer. It was not illegal then for pregnant women or new mothers to be terminated solely for having families.

    Comment by Desert Girl | April 23, 2014 | Reply

    • Holy smokes! 3 days! What a woman! Desert Girl, what did she do for childcare with an infant that tiny? I do remember those days – she must have been an exemplary employee; employers could fire a women who was pregnant.

      Comment by intlxpatr | April 23, 2014 | Reply

  5. You think you take things for granted, we’re ten times worse. MY God the jump we made in Kuwait is mind boggling. Most of my grandmother’s generation didn’t even go to school. Hell some women I know from my mom’s generation were pulled out of school after elementary school because they’re girls! Thank God, my own grandparents were more progressive than that and my mom and her sister were both college grads who went out and got jobs. Nowadays, this isn’t even anything anyone talks about. OF course you send girls to school, and OF COURSE you encourage them to go to college and I’m not even talking about women from my kind of family – even the women who have to wear burqas have jobs where they need to interact with men. I think this is where materialism has been in our favour – people need the extra income so they can live better. Wives are contributing to household income now and it has empowered them tremendously.

    Comment by Razan | April 23, 2014 | Reply

  6. p.s. I love what the football player did. That’s a real man right there.

    Comment by Razan | April 23, 2014 | Reply

  7. Amazing. I think just about every Kuwait woman I know has an advanced university degree, a masters or a doctorate, now. I know my grandmother on my Mother’s side quit school after eighth grade, but my mother also graduated university. There was a giant leap in there; I guess most societies go through that giant leap. My father told me he was only sending me to university as an insurance policy “in case something happened to my husband” and LOL, there was no husband on the horizon, but I got the message that I was not expected to have a career, I was expected to get married and have babies.

    What scares me, Razan, (have you read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood?) is that when things go downhill in a society, the women and children are the most vulnerable, the quickest to lose rights and protections.

    There is an interesting new book out by Elizabeth Warren that has an unusual point of view in two person working couples – she says that when both incomes are counted toward a mortgage, then the couple ends up with more house than they can afford because job loss happens and they can’t make the payment, whereas when only one income counts, couples can afford less and if one loses a job, the other can try to find work, which is not how it works when both members of the team are already working . . . interesting theory. (I haven’t actually read the book)

    Comment by intlxpatr | April 23, 2014 | Reply

  8. I somehow wished there were far more better educated people on earth than there were better qualified ones. Would make life and living that much more remarkable and worth it. The link between advanced university degrees and diplomas and how educated you are in the real sense, to my mind, is tenuous at best.

    Comment by Hommes pour hommes seulement | April 24, 2014 | Reply

  9. I catch your drift, BL. I’ve known many an educated person without any degrees at all, people who read books and thought about them. While all education does not produce educated people, I believe that at least four years of advanced schooling should expose them to new ideas and a life-long hunger for learning, give a person an opportunity to think in new ways.

    Comment by intlxpatr | April 24, 2014 | Reply

  10. In 1967 segregation ( White / Black separate everything drinking fountains , resturants , tiolets , schools , bus seats ,,,, etc ) offcially ended in the USA , looking at the picture it seems its a White on White incident , I wonder if Black men were allowed to run the race back then

    Comment by daggero | April 24, 2014 | Reply

  11. Good question, Daggero, and in researching I discovered that Katherine Switzer was not the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, she was the first to register and to run with a number. A Boston Marathon website says:

    Although not an official entrant, Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb became the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. Joining the starting field shortly after the gun had been fired, Gibb finished the race in 3:21:40 to place 126th overall. Gibb again claimed the “unofficial” title in 1967 and 1968.

    So far, what I have found is that Boston was a city of immigrants, and it seems that they let anyone run, the “violent Irish”, the “feeble Italians” anyone, that is, who was male.

    Here is the first black male:

    Ted Corbitt, a record-breaking American marathoner and one of the first African-Americans in distance running, proved him wrong when he completed his first marathon at Boston in 1951.

    All this is from an article in The New Republic.

    Thanks for a great question, and I had to go looking for that one!

    People running, at the beginning, were thought to be nuts. There was not a lot of status, not like golf or polo. Anyone could run. Anyone – except women.

    Comment by intlxpatr | April 24, 2014 | Reply

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