A HUGE controversy has engulfed the annual Almeria Women’s Day race. The estimated 1,500 participants, many running in the name of feminism, were given a goody bag with gifts including a grocery shopping bag and a bottle of grease remover.
The race was held on Sunday March 12 under the banner ‘Run for Equality’ and just days after global protests and marches celebrated International Women’s Day.
Pilar Ortega, the family councillor who organised the event, has come under a barrage of criticism from the national media and leading politicians. Thousands have expressed their outrage in an avalanche of online fury.
The Women’s Institute of Andalucia has accused Almeria of promoting macho stereotypes with the goody bag, which also included tomatoes, a t-shirt, bracelet and sports bag. Spokeswoman Francisca Serrano said it played into sexist tropes that consider a woman’s place to be in the kitchen.
But councillor Ortega has derided the controversy as manufactured and ridiculous. She accused socialist politicians of ‘micromachism’ arguing that they were the true sexists. Only a sexist would see a cleaning product and immediately connect it with women she said, before apologising for any offence taken.
The cleaning product company in question, KH Loreda, regularly sponsors other sporting events. Other critics have centred on the inclusion of men in the traditionally all-female race, and the hefty participation fee of €10. Only €1 goes to help women in conflict zones, and where the rest goes is anyone’s guess.
Mayor Ramon Pacheco responded that it was ridiculous to forbid men from the race. The whole point, he said, was to educate future generations of men to see their mothers, sisters and daughters as equals.