Thousands of women take part in the Carrera de la Mujer – the Women’s Run – every year in cities across Spain, donning their running shoes to raise awareness and money for breast cancer.
The race in the northwestern city of A Coruña is due to take place on September 20th, but has been marred by controversy after the city's equality council questioned whether the pink T-shirts worn by all the women taking part were “sexist”.
The equality branch of the city's council has not only taken issue with the colour pink, but also railed against the gift bags given to participants, which contain freebies from the event’s sponsors, including cosmetics and women’s magazines.
The T-shirts and gift bag goodies are “sexist” and represent a “version of women that the council does not support” according to regional newspaper, La Voz de Galicia.
Mayor of A Coruña Xulio Ferreiro said the colour pink was identified with “certain topics that we do not wish to promote”.
The local council will not put any money towards the event or send regional MPs to hand out prizes following the run, the newspaper reported.
The Women's Run in Barcelona. Photo: Carrera de la Mujer
But the event’s organizers have denied claims of sexism, emphasizing that the colour pink is a symbol of the fight against breast cancer.
Fran Chico, one of the event’s organizers told The Local that similar Women’s Runs take part across Europe, from London, to Paris, to Lisbon, supporting the fight against breast cancer and “no one questions if it is sexist”.
In fact, it was the participants themselves who chose the colour.
“Originally the T-shirts were orange, then blue,” he told The Local, “but then we put it to a vote among participants and the answer was almost unanimous: 93 percent wanted the T-shirts to be pink.”
This was presumably because pink is the international colour of breast cancer awareness: the symbol used to raise awareness of the disease is a pink ribbon.
Chico also highlighted the great work the Women’s Run has done by encouraging women to take up sport in Spain and, if anything, helping in the fight for women’s equality.
“The Women’s Run has been key to the boom of women’s running in Spain,” he said.
“Thousands of women have had their first taste of sport thanks to taking part in the Women’s Run and in this respect the run has been a valuable tool in gaining equality.
“In the 12 years the Women’s Run has been going, the percentage of women who regularly practice sport has risen from eight percent to 30 percent,” he added.