22nd March, Mumbai: Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or an outdoor enthusiast, chances are that as a woman your interests have been met with skepticism. Society’s attitude to women and outdoor sports is often one of discouragement, and we’re often left feeling like we have something to prove just to be taken seriously.
But the good news is that the narrative is slowly shifting. More and more women around the world are challenging these gender stereotypes and embracing their passions for outdoor and extreme sports, whether it’s rock climbing or kiteboarding.
Exploring the roots of Gender Stereotypes in Outdoor Sports
While major progress has been made in recent years, the reality is that women are still expected to fit into certain roles—often underestimated and under-appreciated—in these grueling events. But where did these gender roles come from, and why have they persisted for so long?
“The truth is that centuries of sexism have played an undeniable role in shaping gender stereotypes in outdoor and extreme sports. It’s only recently that women have begun to break through these archaic expectations, and take part on a more equal footing. Of course, this progress has been slow—but the strides being taken today are a reminder that the future is bright for female athletes.” says Gayatri Mohanty, Mountaineer, Fitness Coach, Nutritionist & Model
Women redefining the Rules of Engagement in Outdoor and Extreme Sports Though there are challenges faced
The days of women being quiet and not pushing the boundaries are gone, and that’s especially true when it comes to outdoor and extreme sports. Women have been battling stereotypes for centuries, and now they have taken their place among the leaders of the outdoors. Women are showing that anything men can do, women can do too, and often even better. The sky (and mountains) are no longer the limits for female athletes, who are pushing themselves to greater daredevil heights every single day.
However, there are still some unique challenges women face when engaging in outdoor and extreme activities. First of all, there is unfortunately still a gender pay gap in sporting events, meaning that female athletes rarely receive equal prize money compared to their male counterparts. Despite these challenges, society is gradually beginning to recognize the capacity of women to excel at outdoor and extreme sporting activities. Women continue to break down gender stereotypes by showcasing their athleticism in wild places with daring feats that inspire adventure lovers around the globe.
Women have come a long way in terms of breaking the gender stereotypes associated with outdoor and extreme sports, but there is still plenty of progress to be made. With more women taking up these sports, we can expect to see more opportunities for female athletes and more access to resources geared toward them, and with more women in these sports, we can also expect to see more inspiring stories and examples of badass women smashing boundaries and redefining the “norm” when it comes to outdoor and extreme sports. It’s up to the people and organizations in these sports to create an environment that welcomes and encourages the participation of female athletes. Ultimately, society should be empowering its thoughts on women, not suppressing them.