The aims of the Women in Adventure project are; to find out what inspires women in adventure so that we can share more of it; to identify anything that makes it more difficult for women to get involved in outdoors adventure so that we can work on ways to address it; and to create a network to share inspiration, information, and ideas.
The first phase of this project was to carry out initial research by conducting a survey on our website. The survey was intended to gather the views of a representative sample of women that participate in outdoors adventure. This is a brief summary to give a flavour of who responded and an overview of our findings.
We received responses from more than 400 women (and one man!) from 24 countries, who participate in over 35 outdoors activities. The majority were based in the UK, then the USA.
Out of all the sports represented, the most popular were hiking, mountain and road biking, trail and road running, and climbing. 85% of the women that responded joined our network and want to stay involved in our work.
The overriding message is that being a woman is not an issue! Women clearly told us that they would like to be viewed as equals, not as a minority, and that coverage should focus on achievement not gender. Although our survey was mainly completed by women, our project is not exclusively for women – the aim is an inclusive community with equal representation.
There were, however, some issues common to the women that completed the survey. Our analysis shows that the main points are:
Role models and representation are important – women would like to see a wider variety of female role models that they can relate to, and stories that focus less on the goal and more on the experience. They especially want to see representation of women of all ages, ethnicities, level of experience, and backgrounds.
The main barriers women told us about are practical – time, money and work. They would like to manage a life/adventure balance, and want solutions and more examples that show how others achieve it.
When asked what issues were important to them, women described the support that they would benefit from. Speaking from a wide range of experience, the support they described was different for those at beginner and entry level, intermediate, and advanced to elite level.
When asked about the change that they would like to see, many women were positive and clear that they see things moving in the right direction. They repeated the message that they would like greater visibility of women and a wider range of role models. There was also a strong sense of frustration about the limited range and functionality of women’s gear.
We asked if there was anything else to say. So many women are already out there living their adventures and wanted to tell us what that means to them. Their passion came across in the exciting, inspiring, and touching stories and comments submitted.
This project is evolving! It doesn’t exist without input from women and men who share our aims. We want to keep our network updated with results and progress, and involve you when we can. If you haven’t already, you can join our network here. We would like to reiterate that we will only use your information to contact you about subjects relevant to this project, and that we will never pass your details to third parties.
We are developing a plan of action based on the key findings and detailed information submitted. Some actions are quite small, some may be really ambitious! We hope that our findings can be used to inform actions that deliver real change, based on the findings of the survey. Particularly in the key areas relating to representation and role models; participation, skills and progression; and gear.
We recognise that we have limited resources and can’t deliver everything on our own. Please get in touch if you would like to work with us to deliver our aims. We would welcome contact from potential partners interested in collaborating on specific projects.
There is potential for further analysis and interpretation of our data. If our knowledge and expertise could be useful to you or your business, please feel free to get in touch about working with us on further research or consultation.
For more information please contact [email protected]