Backpacker Magazine just conducted a survey of more than 3,000 readers, and found an unsettling trend:
“No matter how we sliced the data, women of any outdoor experience level were, on average, less confident in their skills and less likely to see themselves as leaders than men with the equivalent experience.”
Given that outdoor adventure encourages people to feel more confident and capable, this is disheartening news (though not especially surprising, given that sexism remains an undercurrent of the outdoors industry and media, just as it is elsewhere).
But how do we close this confidence gap? Backpacker began by making a case for why we should do so in the first place, and rounded up reasons why we need more outdoor female leaders. On the other hand, the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) published a list of the “5 Things You Already Do That Make You a Female Outdoor Leader,” highlighting what many women already do to make them leaders in the outdoor activities they love.
As for us? We’re making a magazine. Why? Because at the heart of the Misadventures mission is representation: the fact that as adventurous women we are more likely to be seen in special interest stories or sidebars, rather than in the spotlight. No wonder there’s a confidence gap! But female leaders and explorers have always been around, breaking boundaries and setting records, and we continue to accomplish astonishing feats every day. It’s our hope, at Misadventures, that by drawing attention to all of the adventurous women out there–by celebrating women in all aspects of our misadventurous glory–we can create a community of readers who won’t report less confidence, less leadership. To do that, we have to see ourselves in the limelight, see ourselves as part of an astonishing legion of adventurous women. We hope you’ll join us in making that possible.