This time last year I was vaguely aware of International Women’s Day. Cycling around Cuba at the time, I wasn’t really paying it much attention. Then Cuban women started to greet me; ‘Happy International Women’s Day’ they called out in shops and as I cycled past. I suddenly realised why it was important.
It gave us connections; a shared greeting. It allowed us, as women, to celebrate each other, even if we came from different walks of life. What a fantastic day!
Swimathon and International Women’s Day
Being a part of Swimathon has given me the same feeling that I had in Cuba last year. Swimming is one of the few sports with a higher percentage of female participants than male. When I head to the pool it is fantastic to see women of all shapes, sizes and abilities taking part.
We’ve all had those little conversations in the changing rooms; ‘I really didn’t want to come today’, ‘But you did. Well done!’ or ‘The water feels cold’, ‘Ah but it’s great when you get going’. Kind words exchanged with strangers, encouraging and congratulating each other for being there.
I would love to say that is always how it is but there are times we judge and pull each other down too. We question another woman’s choice of outfit, hair colour, make up and even lifestyle. When we are young we are far more prone to do this, not always understanding the impact it has on others.
Our comments and judgements can really tear down another woman’s confidence. Really, we should ask ourselves; why do we care about someone else's choices? Do they affect us? Surely, when we judge that reflects far more on us than anyone else.
I believe that every person at the pool is awesome. Whatever speed they swim, however far they go, they have made a choice to get of the house and get fitter. Swimathon has a great range of distances which people can take part in; from 400m, to 5km. Whatever distance people pick, I think they are awesome.
So for International Women’s Day here's my plea…
On March 8th we celebrated another woman. Whether you were at the pool or not I hope you told someone how great they were or just wished them ‘Happy International Women’s Day’.
Tell your friends why you admire them. Call your relatives to remind them of times they have been there for you. Chat to a colleague about what they do that you think is great. Speak to a stranger and make them smile.
Let’s all build each other up and make each other smile. In doing that we give each other confidence to head to the pool and swim our hearts out!
By Cadi Lambert