Because…Female Racers are Awesome

“’Cause we came out of the cave, and we looked over the hill and we saw fire, and we crossed the ocean and we pioneered the west, and we took to the sky. The history of man is hung on a timeline of exploration and this is what’s next.” (The West Wing – Galileo)

I grow tired of reading quotes from Carmen Jorda. I cannot comprehend how someone who is a “drivers’ representative” on the FIA’s Woman in Motorsports commission can forward the idea that women should give up because it’s challenging. I wonder who in her life told her she couldn’t achieve greatness, and to give up when things get tough. Someone did her a disservice. My parents raised me to believe that I could do anything I wanted to. It wasn’t ‘taught’ that because I am a woman there are certain avenues unavailable to me. I was told that some roads would be harder because I was a woman, but those roads were still there. Apparently, I’m a glutton for punishment because I decided to enter the legal profession which is still a very male-dominated profession, but both my parents were right behind me. I also fell in love with a sport that’s nearly all male (in a sport that has spanned years and we can only list off under ten female drivers…the percentage is atrocious).

Can you be a feminist and an Indy Car fan?

I write this as a classical second-wave feminist, the one thought of to be from the 1960s-1980s that focused on the inequalities in the workplace and other sexual-based inequalities*. I think you can be both a feminist and an Indy Car fan, but it’s hard. I’m cheering for a sport that has a distinct lack of female involvement at many levels and that has a fan base that lambasts one female driver for actions that I’ve seen other male drivers do, using very female-derogatory terms for her. I’d like to apologize as I’ve been complacent in my silence. 

Instead of being complacent, I’m going to champion women racers – past and present. We highlight a woman each week we put out a podcast (except the ones where we’re driving back from a racetrack, but those don’t have any real notes attached to them). More can be done! One big part is helping people realize that struggle of women in this sport, both those in the driver’s seat and those behind the scenes. I’m a believer in the fact that you can’t see where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been.

So, now that I’ve finished going through the teams for the 2018 season, I’m going to be turning my attention to the women in this sport, starting off with the women who boldly paved the way, and working my way to the women currently in the highest rung, and someone of the women who are now starting on the ladder.

There are countless women who faced a challenge and did not “give up”, they should be talked about, not Ms. Jorda’s misinformed soundbites.


* I am not against the causes that the First-wave, third-wave, and fourth-wave feminists have, in fact, I am a proponent of them, but my biggest cause is the inequalities in the workplace, an inequality that we are still fighting against.  

Photo by Jack B on Unsplash

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