As 2016 comes to an end (can you even believe it?), and we all start making our new years resolutions and thinking about the people we are now, versus the people we were a year ago, versus the people we want to become, I want to plant a seed.
I often hear and read about complaints from women in the outdoors that they want more options for gear. We are all frustrated with the lack of options for women’s technical gear, the discrepancy in options between men and women’s climbing shoes, and ultimately the variety of what we can purchase in the store to protect us all outside.
I get it.
The other day, though, I started thinking that we’ve been wanting a band-aid cure. We just want the outdoor companies to meet our needs (which is fair). We want to feel represented and to have them recognize that woman can, and do, charge just as hard as men. I’m not here to belittle that. AT ALL. We woman are powerhouses and we have come so far in the outdoor industry. Kudos to us.
Beyond that, we’re living in an incredible time where organizations like SheJumps, And She’s Dope Too, Bold Betties, She Shreds Co, Chicks with Picks (and on and on and on) are hosting meet-ups, and planning rendezvous’, and organizing all women’s AIARE courses.
Because of this, I think the answer and the push to getting more technical gear for women is in the works. From a marketing and monetary stand point, for a long time it didn’t make sense to stock the floor with technical gear for women. Think about it, whatever REI puts on the floor is a direct representation of their customers wants/needs. So yeah, there is a growing number of us who want/need a bigger variety of technical gear, but there are also a lot of women who don’t need alpine bibs or expedition mitts.
Here’s what I’m saying: in 2017 we need to be more vigilant in inviting our friends outside. The problem, ultimately, isn’t that there aren’t enough options in retail stores, it’s that there aren’t enough women getting out and charging. We need more women doing more awesome things in the outdoors. The easiest and best way to do this is to find your tribe of badass woman and hit the trails and crags and slopes, and encourage them (as they’ll encourage you) to challenge themselves–to climb the harder route, to ski the black diamond, to spend five days in the wilderness. Since I moved to Salt Lake City, I’ve met so many woman (most who also just moved here) that want to get outside, but don’t know where to start. It’s so easy and fun and exciting to invite someone along on your adventure. My climbing gym gives me a free pass every month, and it’s usually spent introducing someone to climbing.
So go ahead, write it on your list of resolutions in 2017. Let this next year be a year that women continue to encourage other women to get outside, face their demons, and overcome challenges. We’ll all be the better for it.