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Janet Guthrie--discrimination

A lot of women get the feeling that in the entire history of the world, females never did anything until yesterday, and that concerns me.  In my speeches, I talk about the first woman who competed in a race from Marseilles to Nice in 1898.  These are the kinds of women who have always existed.  During the Civil War there were women who fought as men.  It is the same for every field, from practicing medicine to being an artist. It is a dreadful handicap to young women who want to seek out the most challenging aspects of life when they are not aware of their history. 

I advise women never to let anyone tell them that they cannot do X, Y and Z because they are female. I have been congratulated for being the first woman to compete in the Indianapolis 500, but the hard part was the thirteen years that led up to the race.  I spent thousands of hours building engines alone in grubby garages because it was necessary to race and I did not have the money to pay someone to do it.  Tenacity was the key to surviving the many challenges I have faced.

Bio: Janet Guthrie was the first woman to compete in the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500, both in 1977. Provided by: