This morning I watched a clip which showed a pod of dolphins stranded on a beach. Spectators on the beach approached, uncertain at first what to do, then waded in to help. A few tried to pick up the dolphins and found them too heavy. Finally someone figured out to rescue the stranded animals by pulling them into deeper water by the tail.
Many beach goers waded in to help. An inspiring sight. Humans helping dolphins. But then, who can avoid helping these beautiful, intelligent animals? Who would not, without hesitation, jump right in to help? You might be surprised, then, to know that not one woman was among the courageous rescuers. No woman? My heart rebelled and cried out: Why not? Why did the women present remain on the beach, watching and not participating in this grand rescue?
A corresponding question immediately rose in my mind: are we women really the weaker sex? Some, I know, might have a quick response to this question: Yes, in general women are weaker than men. The statistics speak for themselves. The fastest woman ran a marathon in 2 hours, 15 minutes and 25 seconds. The fastest man’s marathon record is 2 hours 3 minutes and 38 seconds. The heaviest a woman weighing 69kg weight lifted was 128kg. For a man in the same weight category, the record is 165kg. And the list, I am sure, goes on and on.
Without bothering with statistics, however, there are quite a few first woman and person achievements that show that women are as capable as men. Lynn Hill, an American climber, was the first to climb El Capitan’s route “The Nose” without aid. Amelia Earhart holds a number of first flights: the first to fly from California to Hawaii, from LA to Mexico City, from Mexico City to Newark, and from the Red Sea to India. In a google search I found mention of a Sherpa woman named Chhurrim who climbed Mount Everest twice in one week. She is the only person to have done so. And women have intellectual achievements as well: Marie Curie, for example, is the only scientist to receive two Nobel prizes.
These firsts make me wonder. Is “the weaker sex” only in our heads? Do we women stand back and allow men to rescue dolphins because we perceive ourselves, not incapable exactly, but maybe less capable than them? And, a niggling question remains, would I have jumped in? And what would have happened if I did?
My daughter, watching the movie this afternoon, immediately voiced the same sentiment. “Why did no woman help?” She asked. My heart swelled with pride. Clearly I have taught her well. She and I, I told her, will make a commitment to each other right now. We will jump in together if ever dolphins are stranded on a beach before our eyes.