When I look back over the last three years I am amazed with how far I have come. From a complete rookie in the outdoor industry I am now the proud holder of the Mountain Leader Award as well as working as a full time Outdoor Instructor with associated qualifications. When I started on this journey I remember seeing so much discussion about how difficult it was for women in the outdoors....
I read statistics and joined groups on social media where fellow professionals shared their stories about the barriers they came across as women in the industry.
So, I started on my journey with a little trepidation, but also a great deal of focus. I have long considered myself a feminist and by feminist I mean that I believe in the Oxford Dictionary definition that feminism is ‘the advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes’. So I believe in equality; I believe that everyone should have access to the outdoors regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or personal life choices. Adventure should really and truly be for everyone.
As I started to move in to the industry I was convinced that I would come across sexism, male bravado and testosterone overdosing on a grand scale. This was after all the picture that had been painted to me. However, three years in to my new career and I can quite honestly say that I haven’t experienced any of these things; in fact, the opposite. I can categorically say that I would not be where I am if it were not for the men in my outdoor life.
There were three men right at the start who took a punt on me; they employed me, they trained me, they gave up their own spare time to coach me. They were nothing but supportive and quite frankly if it wasn’t for them I would not be here now. This kindness continued, and continues to this day. Matt, Jon, Joe, Paul, Callum, Bob, James, Will…..there are many more, I can’t possibly list them all but what I can say is that I am incredibly fortunate to have a life filled with these men.
That is not to say however that there aren't perhaps some men out there who do hold women in less regard, I guess I am lucky that I have yet to come across them, or maybe I have and I just ignore them? In just the same way as I ignore the women who are equally deprecating about men....they make me yawn. Sweeping statements are just so last century darling!
As women we are told to continually celebrate the amazing women in our lives and industry, and I do that; I have a series of interviews with some of my Adventure Women Heroes coming soon and a new Blogzine; Adventure Women UK being launched in 2019.
But I don’t want to celebrate the phenomenal women in my life without celebrating the phenomenal men in my life equally. Equality is the way forward after all…
Thank you, to you all, you are truly amazing and I don't think your immense value should be lost amongst all the gender noise.