Women’s exercise, a course full of obstacles

Women’s exercise, a course full of obstacles

Gender inequality is not just about the world of work or the family sphere. They are also very strong regarding sports practices. An awareness process is being carried out in March to try and remove these obstacles and encourage women to get started.

Night has just fallen. A small group gathers in the forecourt of Saint-Denis Cathedral (Seine-Saint-Denis), dozens of women including mothers and three men, sneakers on their feet. They all wore a purple T-shirt with the inscription across the chest, “Run for Equality.” After a quick warm-up, this little peloton will embark on a small city loop. On the program that evening: Course “5-6 kilometers”.

>> ‘It’s not that we’re constrained, it’s more deceptive’: How stereotypes (still) affect women’s exercise

It’s the association Prerequisite is none Behind this nocturnal stroll. Created in 2017, it runs running courses several times a week in Paris and the Paris region (and more recently in La Rochelle and Bordeaux). I don’t like to run alone. explains Lea Berthelot, who joined the association less than a year ago. Being in a group binds me and protects me on the court.”

“I don’t run alone at night”

This is one of the main factors limiting women’s sports activities in public places. And Léa Berthelot knows something about it. “I’m not comfortable being in shorts on the street, says the young woman. And when I only run 6 km, I can’t run anymore if someone bothers me.

This group idea is essential to give women confidence but also security. Helen Moesta, “always sporty” As she defines herself, she is one of the twenty ambassadors of the association. We always have comments. Helen is angry. There’s not a single time that we’ve gone out with men telling us, ‘Bravo! It’s not for nothing, it’s always an encouragement, but it wouldn’t occur to them to say that to the men who run. It should be part of the morals, it should be normal for you to see women running around. Why would it be any different? “

The first obstacle is a lack of self-confidence

A study by Strava, a leading running app, revealed that women in France devote 25% less time to sports than men. This rate rises at certain times of the day. At nightfall, it can drop to -50%. Regards to Mathilde Caster, co-founder of Sine Qua None.

A victim of sexual abuse in the course of her work, she has made sport a vector of liberation and equality: if women run in the street, they will dare to occupy public spaces even more. Even today, there are a lot of obstacles. The first brake is self-doubt and fears that have been internalized since childhood. The evolution of Mathilde Custer. The second is often restraining orders because of the mental burden in the family and lack of time. The third is to make the public space safer for them, with regard to issues of lighting or road width.

The association calls on communities to make public spaces more open. In Saint-Denis, that evening, in the large concrete square of the church, there were only men. “I used to say that men are settling down and women are progressing,” says Orienne Filhoul, municipal assistant for solidarity, access to rights, women’s rights and anti-discrimination.

“We see it around us, as soon as night falls, the women disappear very quickly…”

Orian Filholl

at franceinfo

“Our goal, she completes, Seeing women at night in public places, together we feel more confident, and little by little it will normalize behavior. For six years, Sine Qua None has recruited 2,000 women. She also wants to monetize football fields in the city’s stadiums, which are often used only by men.

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