Ladies, Chill Out
There’s been a lot of ‘Women are so hard done by’ in the outdoors recently. Maybe it’s just the circles I’ve been electronically hanging out in, but it’s getting a little bit old. The thing is, we are equals in some respect, but when it comes to numbers, we’re under represented. That’s not the men’s fault.
It’s not the outdoor brands fault that some women actually like to wear pink and purple kit or want ‘pretty gaiters’; something someone asked about on a facebook forum recently, nothing wrong with that! It’s also worth noting that women’s outdoor wear makes up significantly less than 50% of sales. Therefore there will be less kit and less research and design time going into it because the costs and profits need to weigh out.
The problem isn’t that people view us as incapable, I know some pretty amazing outdoor women that could out do many men in the outdoor industry. The problem is the women who are happy to moan about it but not willing to learn the skills they need to keep up, especially if it’s from a man. This mindset can lead us to believe that other people (and that’s what we are, regardless sex or race) cannot teach us because they don’t understand us. Prove you can hold your own and earn their respect, don’t just put your back up and assume people are thinking you incapable because you wear a bra.
And don’t even get me started on the sexism in the outdoor industry debate! Honestly, having been in the industry for nearly 10 years I can honestly say I’ve never really experienced it. If anything it works in my favour! Every industry is male dominated, with the exception maybe of teaching and nursing? The thing is, women CHOSE to take a break and have kids, they CHOSE to put themselves second for 18 years. If you ask any of the women who have CHOSEN to have kids instead of keep progressing in their career, most of them will tell you they wouldn’t have it any other way! But this leaves less women in all industries, not just the outdoor industry.
Physically and psychologically we are also different. Where a man can do something, we fight instinct after instinct that is historically ingrained in us to keep us alive and keep the human race going. We have nurturing hormones that make us a little bit crazy sometimes and fragile at others, I know i’m guilty of letting my hormones get the better of me! It ain’t easy being a women and trying to get out on some epic adventures, but don’t make it everyone else’s fault.
So what should we be doing about it?
Stop being so hostile, prove yourself and know that everyone has something to teach. Life is one long lesson, learn as much as you can from as many people as you can, and then pass it on while knowing you can learn from the newest newbie on the scene.
Push your limits, and keep doing it until you smash through them and find yourself doing something you never thought possible.
Surround yourself with positive influences, both male and female.
Have the confidence to take your time and ignore ‘Macho’ behaviour, you’ll often be surprised by the response.
Be nicer to yourself. You don’t need to know everything, or be the fastest. Ask yourself why you’re there and then focus on your own goals, confidence comes from within and achieving what you are aiming for.
Sorry to Rant, thanks for reading!