Everyone, man, woman and child can gain immense benefits socially, mentally and physically from the outdoors. Not only is it a place to gain environmental awareness and to learn about yourself and others, adventure allows you to challenge yourself according to your personal skill level, whatever that might be, and gain a sense of accomplishment.
However adventure, as it is today, is seen as and primarily marketed to a male domain. Think about it, most adventure orientated media, in all forms, is of the Bear Grylls or Survivor variety or the sexy near naked images of young females type, once again appealing to men. As a fit and active adventuress in her forties, I have to ask, Why is adventure deemed less appropriate for females?
It’s not because we like adventure less, but because our culture doesn’t encourage women to be physical in the same way it does for men, so we miss out on all the positive consequences that come with using our bodies for reasons other than satisfying the male gaze. (I trust that I don’t need to list them here.) In a time when media influences children as much as adults it’s important to strive for fair representation to help young girls get excited about outdoor physical activity.
Women's adventure is a rapidly growing market, there are increasingly large numbers of women now participating in outdoor activities, everything from competitive type events such as ultra distance trail runs, obstacle races and mountain bike events to the more free- spirited ocean water sports & multi day trekking & cycling travel holidays.
Research still shows however even with increased participation, adventure is still a male dominated arena, it also suggests it's due to the following reasons;
- Masculine portrayal of the activities via the media;
- Predominance of men participating;
- Lack of female instructors, mentors and role models;
- Lack of knowledge of techniques and strategies for effectively educating women in the outdoors.
- et's face it though, some outdoor activities do appeal to males more than females. However, as a female involved in many outdoor recreational pursuits over a 20 year period, I have seen many girls and women flourish while engaging in properly managed outdoor activities simply because someone 'gave them the encouragement to get started'.
As an outdoor lover with a passion to encourage other females to 'just give it a go' it's a real disappointment to me that some may be turned off by one or more of the reasons above!
In order for women to gain the benefits of outdoor activities, there's a need for an equal opportunity to engage. Researchers have also given us the following insights into the education of women in the outdoors:
- Females often require education and instruction that is designed specifically for women.
- Women tend to need encouragement to participate, support while learning and exposure to female role models and mentors.
- Women need instruction from leaders who support the learning pace and style of women.
- Single gender groups can be beneficial for female beginners.
- Females working in outdoor education and recreation should be supported in order to boost the number of women in the industry.
Of course, there are many amazing women out there already involved and doing incredible things, however it is many of these women, the girls who have been there and done a bit, who mostly recognise the above points and are doing something about it.
Many of the womens groups and businesses we have aligned ourselves with have created valuable avenues, Women Only type programs, to get females involved in various outdoor pursuits, these are often the first step for females to get involved when it comes to regular participation in outdoor activities.
Checkout some of the great outdoor all female groups around Australia with huge female followings listed here on our adventure directory.
We are in the business women's adventure, Travel Play Live is a dedicated magazine to the topic. But before deeming women-specific media an over-kill, think about this: To be involved in any adventure activity, to train, to write and make adventure content is just as important for those women out there doing it as it is for men. No more, and no less. It's time to help women in this pursuit with fair and balanced media that inspires women toward athletic, not aesthetic, goals.
I also personally believe there is a huge potential for adventure companies, adventure suppliers and event coordinators who first understand the points listed above.
The girls on the sidelines, the girls at this time unsure about their abilities, their skills, because they were never encouraged to play sport, the ones who watch their husbands and children participate every weekend, these are the girls who are the potential future customers of outdoor brands.
Their average age is 35-55, they make the majority of the families travel and recreational decisions, they have income that they are willing to invest into diverse experiences and the products that they need to participate in them.
So to the marketers out there,we are definitely interested in your services and products, you may have to attract us a little differently but we are here, willing, able and almost ready.
So do your best sell me a great adventure!
Do you agree or disagree with any the statements above. Anything you think should be added?