I know. The election was a shocker, to say the least. There are a lot of other blogs, analysts, and websites that are dedicated to American politics, of which, Active Women is not one. I will keep my comments short on this topic but there is a link between new President Trump (yes, I threw up a little bit in my mouth!), what we can learn from it, and how it impacts “supporting, promoting, and inspiring women to be active outdoors”.
For at least the next 4 years, we are going to be having to deal with his comments. And not just us grown women but our daughters. They are going to grow up questioning their value to society (especially heartbreaking to young women in their teenage, formative years). They are going to see and hear a prominent figure speaking of women (not to mention minorities) in an unbelievably horrible way. And you may be feeling hopeless, despondent, angry, frustrated…but please don’t. Recognize that there IS something you can do. You DO have some level of control. Let’s show our young girls in Canada – and around the world – that there are incredibly inspiring females doing what they love and thriving.
The Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) has an open call for their Most Influential Women List, happening right now. Each year, CAAWS celebrates women who make an impact by recognizing and creating a list of women who are “leaders, game-changers and builders”. They are looking to recognize 20 individuals in the following categories: athlete, coach, builder, media, one to watch.
The online form is fairly simple to fill out. Yes, you’ll want to take a bit of time to accurately describe and represent the woman (or women!) whom you’re nominating but it’s truly not a huge form. I really encourage you to think about the women in your or your daughter’s life who are life inspiring and influencing how we view women in sport. Let’s celebrate the people who make a difference.
Some of you may wonder why this is important: Why do we need an award specifically for women? My answer is to refer you to the Women in Sport – Fuelling a Lifetime of Participation key findings:
- 41% of girls between 3-17 don’t participate in sport
- 84% of adult women don’t participate in sport
- Only 38% of senior staff in national and/or multi-sport organizations are women
- In 2014, only 4% of sports programming on Canada’s national sports networks featured women’s sport
These numbers are depressing and why we need to promote the women who ARE participating…and learn how to inspire you to be more active! How are youth to look up to female athletes when 96% of their feed is filled with male images? And, what I find disturbing, the intense pressure for women to be sexualized within the media in order to be featured. I came across this article by Outside Magazine discussing the difficulties they have in trying to find and use stock photography images of women in sport. Getty Images has partnered with the Women’s Sports Trust to announce guidelines for portraying female athletes. In short, images should showcase women participating in sport in a non-sexual manner…you know, focus on skill and talent and not overt cleavage shots. Think I’m joking? Stock photography is terrible – there’s a reason I haven’t started a Pintrest board: nearly every image is a booty shot of a girl in skimpy clothes, peering over her shoulder, long, tousled hair dangling teasingly over her shoulder as she leans back over her bike.
I went to a few stock photography sites and looked for female athletes. Outside did the same (you should see some gems they found!). Here are the (free) images I pulled up…and basically sums up my options for free images of female athletes:
I know this one isn’t sexual…but is it any less bizarre? It was actually labelled as “healthy-women-sport”
As I look at peruse the image choices, I have to set a “featured image” for this post (see sexy bum shot at top). Aside from all of them being terrible and not representing what I’m trying to share, these were pretty much all of my options for women in sport or female athlete. Broadening my search to athletes or to a specific activity simply netted images of men.
What to do? Let’s start by celebrating influential women we know: go nominate someone!
Secondly, help me support and share other women. Use #activewomencanada on Instagram and let me share what women really do. Which, quite frankly, is pretty amazing stuff!
To paraphrase Clinton, let us show young girls they ARE of value to society and that they are capable of anything.