The 2017 Women First 5km run that is organized by the Great Ethiopian Run every year is set to take place on Sunday March 12, 2017. This year’s run theme is “Because she can”, a slogan that is chosen to show that women and girls can accomplish anything if given the opportunity.
To celebrate the official launch of the race countdown, an event was held at Capital Hotel on Thursday, February 2, 2017 where representatives of UN agencies, athletes, and inspiring women that have been dubbed as Iconic Women who shared their experiences that related to the 5km run’s slogan “Because she can”.
In her opening speech, Letty Chiwara, Representative of UN Women, African Union and UN Economic Commission for Africa at UN Women, stated that the UN has always been proud to sponsor the race and to commemorate the International Women’s Day.
“The theme we have chosen for this race represents the capability and potential of women who fulfill their dreams transform society. This theme strongly speaks to our commitment as the United Nations on ending all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere and eliminating all harmful practices and forms of violence against women and girls in Ethiopia,” she stated.
Furthermore, she underlined that the new global development agenda, the SDGs has sixteen goals which provide an unprecedented opportunity for all to begin to address the challenges faced by women and girls not only in Ethiopia but in Africa and globally.
During a panel discussion that was led by Teguest Yilma, Capital Newspaper’s Managing Editor, a group of Iconic women; including: Emahoye Fikertemariam, Dr Bogalech Gebre, Meaza Ashenafi, Hirut Gedlu, Rabiya Yemam and Hilina Estifanos, emphasized that women and girls need to have role models that they can look up to and be inspired by.
“Here, we have women that are role models for everyone, not just women and girls. Women have always excelled in all that they do and that needs to be recognized,” said Meaza Ashenafi, Board Chair of Enat Bank and well known women’s rights activist.
Speaking about her experience and work, Dr Bogalech Gebre who has been recognized for her efforts to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), stated that girls, as soon as they are born are looked down on and given limited space to grow and use their potential.
“It is not a question of because she can, of course she can and she is doing it. It is about letting girls have opportunity, education and the other tools the other half of society gets to have,” she stated. All of the other women who were present also lauded the same message that, women and girls need to be allowed to have their equal share of opportunities.
Great Ethiopian Run is also celebrating, this year, it’s 14th edition of the annual Women First 5km, women only run which was started to mark international women’s day thirteen years ago and highlight the contribution of Ethiopian women in the society. Ethiopia will be celebrating the International Women’s Day for the 40th time this year, showcasing the country’s long term commitment at the highest level to advancing the women’s agenda.
UN Ethiopia is the title sponsor of the 2017 Women First 5km. A total of 11,000 girls and women are expected to take part in the biggest women only event in the country; where girls and women from all walks of life come together to celebrate the day.
Gold medalist Meseret Defar has put forward a challenge for the women and girl runners this year; finish the 5km run in under 35 minutes and win a special prize, a signed certificate from the world class athlete herself.
Registration is currently being done at several locations; Enat Bank branches of Derartu Tulu Branch (Mexico), Abebech Gobena Branch (Megenagna), Etege Taitu Branch (Kazanchis), Meri Armede Branch (Addisu Gebeya) as well as Capital Hotel.