At Misadventures, we’re not only delivering content by and for adventurous women.

We’re also keeping track of how women are represented in the outdoor and adventure-industry publication world.

Last summer, we documented how most outdoors and adventure lifestyle magazines and websites, rather than being gender-neutral, strongly skew toward a male audience. We had the gut feeling, and we did the research. We generated the dismal results by looking at the staff list, the article bylines, the representation in photographs and illustrations, and the self-reported audience in a few popular magazines: Outside, Backpacker, Bicycling, Surfer, and Surfing.

This winter, we’ve opened up the playing field by looking at a couple of different publications. We’ve chosen Outside, Backpacker, Bicycling, Rock and Ice, Trail Runner, and Surfer.

The addition of Rock and Ice and Trail Runner represents an attempt to look at a more diverse array of outdoor/adventure activities. By the same token, we’ve dropped Surfing because, well, if you’ve seen how women are portrayed in one surfing magazine, you’ve seen it all. We won’t waste your time.

Read on to see some handy charts from the most recent widely-circulated outdoor-industry publications that illustrate our point.

This report was created after we scoured the pages of some of the latest magazines, cataloguing in four key areas:

(1) Staff List

This was taken from the Impressum, and it’s basically the list of people who work on the magazine. This section appears in the front of the book. We included editorial staff, photographers, digital staff, etc.

(2) Article Bylines

We looked at every article that included an author’s byline in each of the magazines. We did not look at photographer credits.

(3) Photographs and Illustrations

We considered each individual photograph or illustration. If a man was the subject, we tallied the photograph in the “men” column. If a woman was the subject, we tallied the photograph in the “women” column. If there were multiple subjects, we tallied each of those subjects in their respective columns. If it was a photograph of a crowd of people, we chose the clear subjects (no more than five people) and tallied accordingly. Note: we did not include advertisements.

(4) Audience Demographics

We searched for the media kits for each of the magazines online to find their own reporting of the gender breakdown of their audience.

Other Notes

If a name or a photograph was ambiguously gendered (Taylor, Casey, Alex, Sam, etc), we tallied in the “gender-neutral” column.

This is an imperfect system of gauging representation, but it’s an attempt to cover the spectrum of who’s behind-the-scenes making the decisions about content (staff), who’s actually the voice of the magazine (bylines), who magazines are portraying as the face of their content (photos), and who’s reading (audience).

Without further ado:

[divider]The Report[/divider]

Winter 2015 Gender Representation in Outdoor Industry Magazines Report

Magazines included:
Bicycling, January/February 2015
Backpacker, January 2015
Outside, February 2015
Rock and Ice, January 2015
Surfer, November 2014
Trail Runner, January 2015

In charts below, the blue represents men, the pink represents women, and the purple represents gender-neutral.

[divider]Magazine #1[/divider]

Outside Magazine

Outside: Staff

Includes Editorial, Art Photography, and Online

[wp_charts title=”Staff2″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”84,6,18″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Total Men: 84
Total Women: 18
Total Gender-Neutral Staff: 6


Outside: Articles With Bylines

[wp_charts title=”Bylines2″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”23,7,10″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Total Men in Bylines: 23
Total Women in Bylines: 10
Total Gender-Neutral Bylines: 7


Outside: Photographs and Illustrations

In images with multiple humans, main subject(s) chosen

[wp_charts title=”Photos2″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”67,4,18″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Total Images of Men: 67
Total Images of Women: 18
Total Images with Gender Neutral Figures: 4


Outside: Audience Demographics

[wp_charts title=”MediaKit3″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”72,28″ colors=”#008ed8,#ee6b93,”]

Percentage Men: 72%
Percentage Women: 28%
Source: Media Kit

[divider]Magazine #2[/divider]

Backpacker Magazine

Backpacker: Staff

Includes Editorial, Art, Field Scouts, and Interns

[wp_charts title=”Staff1″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”15,4,23″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Total Men: 15
Total Women: 23
Total Gender-Neutral: 4


Backpacker: Articles With Bylines

[wp_charts title=”Bylines1″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”15,4,7″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Total Men in Bylines: 15
Total Women in Bylines: 7
Total Gender-Neutral Bylines: 4


Backpacker: Photographs and Illustrations

In images with multiple humans, main subject(s) chosen

[wp_charts title=”Photos1″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”12,11,17″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Total Images of Men: 12
Total Images of Women: 17
Total Images with Gender Neutral Figures: 11


Backpacker: Audience Demographics

[wp_charts title=”MediaKit2″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”71,29″ colors=”#008ed8,#ee6b93,”]

Percentage Men: 71%
Percentage Women: 29%
Source: Media Kit

[divider]Magazine #3[/divider]

Bicycling Magazine

Bicycling: Staff

Includes Editorial, Cycling Test Group, Art, Online, and Contributors

[wp_charts title=”Staff” type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”21,4,13″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Total Men: 21
Total Women: 13
Total Gender-Neutral: 4


Bicycling: Articles With Bylines

[wp_charts title=”Bylines” type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”27,2,11″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Total Men in Bylines: 27
Total Women in Bylines: 11
Total Gender-Neutral Bylines: 2


Bicycling: Photographs and Illustrations

In images with multiple humans, main subject(s) chosen

[wp_charts title=”Photos” type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”28,7,7″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Total Images of Men: 28
Total Images of Women: 7
Total Images with Gender Neutral Figures: 7


Bicycling: Audience Demographics

[wp_charts title=”MediaKit1″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”77,23″ colors=”#008ed8,#ee6b93,”]

Percentage Men: 77%
Percentage Women: 23%
Source: Media Kit

[divider]Magazine #4[/divider]

Rock and Ice

Rock and Ice: Staff

Includes Editorial and Creative

[wp_charts title=”Staff3″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”32,3,6″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Total Men: 32
Total Women: 6
Total Gender-Neutral Staff: 3


Rock and Ice: Articles With Bylines

[wp_charts title=”Bylines3″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”12,0,3″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Total Men in Bylines: 12
Total Women in Bylines: 3
Total Gender-Neutral Bylines: 0

Update: Corrected on 2/5/15 with accurate number.


Rock and Ice: Photographs and Illustrations

In images with multiple humans, main subject(s) chosen

[wp_charts title=”Photos3″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”41,12,15″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Total Images of Men: 41
Total Images of Women: 15
Total Images with Gender Neutral Figures: 12

[divider]Magazine #5[/divider]

Trail Runner

Trail Runner: Staff

Includes Editorial and Creative

[wp_charts title=”Staff5″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”10,2,4″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Total Men: 10
Total Women: 4
Total Gender-Neutral: 2


Trail Runner: Articles With Bylines

[wp_charts title=”Bylines5″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”2,0,4″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Total Men in Bylines: 2
Total Women in Bylines: 4
Total Gender-Neutral Bylines: 0


Trail Runner: Photographs and Illustrations

In images with multiple humans, main subject(s) chosen

[wp_charts title=”Photos5″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”22,5,31″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Total Images of Men: 22
Total Images of Women: 31
Total Images with Gender Neutral Figures: 5

[divider]Magazine #6[/divider]

Surfer Magazine

Surfer: Staff

Includes Editorial, Writers, and Photographers

[wp_charts title=”Staff6″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”98,5,0″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Total Men: 98
Total Women: 0
Total Gender-Neutral: 5


Surfer: Articles With Bylines

[wp_charts title=”Bylines6″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”13,0,0″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Total Men in Bylines: 13
Total Women in Bylines: 0
Total Gender-Neutral Bylines: 0


Surfer: Photographs and Illustrations

In images with multiple humans, main subject(s) chosen

[wp_charts title=”Photos6″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”81,1,4″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Total Images of Men: 81
Total Images of Women: 4
Total Images with Gender Neutral Figures: 1


Surfer: Audience Demographics

[wp_charts title=”MediaKit6″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”77,23″ colors=”#008ed8,#ee6b93,”]

Percentage Men: 77%
Percentage Women: 23%
Source: Media Kit

[divider]End of Report[/divider]

In summary, there’s a significant link in gender representation between the four elements that we’ve chosen. The magazines with a higher ratio of women on staff are the same ones who employ female contributors and visually represent women on their pages. In general, magazines with more female representation on their pages have a larger female audience.  As we did last time, we applaud Backpacker for its representation. This time, we’re pleased to discover that Trail Runner also represents gender in a fairly equal manner.

Magazines serve as a reflection of political, social, and cultural life. They tell us about ourselves as a society. At Misadventures, we did not see “ourselves” on the pages of either women’s or outdoor magazines. We aimed to change that. Our magazine enters the sphere of outdoor-industry magazines that has been dominated by men. In doing so, it offers women the opportunity to be themselves and embrace paths outside the mainstream in hopes that it becomes the mainstream. Our vision is that by showcasing strong, multidimensional, independent women and their diverse passions, Misadventures becomes a space of aspiration and inspiration for everyone.