Why bother launching this website, Active Women? Some still question whether equality or equity are issues in the outdoor or sports world. I definitely have read, seen, and heard comments from both men and women that there are no barriers anymore and that women are accepted just as much as men and the opportunities exist equally. *sigh*
I came across this article from Surly Bikes Marketing Manager, Christina, wherein she describes her experiences over the years of being a female in the outdoor industry. From a sexual assault, to being told to act more “motherly” and “bake cookies” to being informed she should pay for two entry fees – one for each of her breasts, Christina’s examples are, unfortunately, not uncommon. Women still face huge barriers and even more so when you consider the career opportunities available: women better be sexy to be sponsored.
I was sent some information from a reader, collected by Natural Fitness Lab, that starkly laid out some disturbing facts:
- 3% of girls will quit all physical activity by the age of seventeen.
- By the age of 6, girls will start to underestimate their abilities in both sport, and later in their professional lives.
- Female athletes receive 0.5% of the sponsorship and prize money.
- Male dominated pro-sport makes up 98% of all TV sports coverage while the most widely practiced sports, your sport, receives little to no exposure.
- In 2015, young girls are still not allowed to play some sports.
When I read information like this I can’t help but get worked up; frustrated, annoyed. From an equal-opportunities point of view, how can girls even begin to see visualize themselves as athletes when we aren’t being represented? Very few sporting events provide equal prize money for competitions and, as mentioned, the need for women to be sexy and present themselves as the mainstream-media defines beauty is rampant.
Locally, we have the Rossland Mountain Film Festival coming up. I’ve been keen to try and find an appropriate film to bring in and show: a predominantly female, outdoor adventure, winter-themed Canadian film. It’s tough to find! But having these films to counter the current barrage of what defines women is so incredibly important. I truly believe there is a demand to see female athletes being athletes but until we start taking chances on showing them, things will remain status quo.
Imagine my utter delight that the above statistics were sent in conjunction with an upcoming women’s film: Oxygen. They’ve captured 77 elite athletes, such as Olympians, World Champions, and National Team Members in 27 different sports: snowshoeing, mountain biking, triathlon, canoeing, climbing…the list keeps going on! The film is about empowering and fostering women in outdoor sport, specifically to nourish, develop, enhance and promote positive female role models within pop culture, healthy outdoor lifestyles, natural fitness and the environment and the film crew has captured amazing footage of female athletes doing their thing outdoors.
This film is an absolute dream to me but they are in need of assistance to finalize production, marketing, and distribution. They are presently fundraising on Kickstarter and could really use your help to help make it a reality. They are less than $3,000 from their goal. Can you help? https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/oxygenproject/oxygen-sport-empowered-by-women
Cheers to a sweet film featuring our own female athletes!