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[Roundup] How To Support The Women Led & Powered Outdoor Ecosystem

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[Roundup] How To Support The Women Led & Powered Outdoor Ecosystem

Today’s the last day for our 12 Days of Gearmus collaboration with Gearmunk, where every day we shared tips on how to support the women led and powered outdoor ecosystem. For our final day, here’s a roundup of the big, small, and a little bit out there things you can do to support women.

Pay Us. There’s a belief that because (some) women are natural caregivers and community builders that it is our role in society to do this work for free. That reinforces the pay gap and it marginalizes our contributions to society. The amount of income and wealth that is lost over free labor is staggering, and if we want to close the pay gap we need to rethink what we expect of women and hone in on how they deserve to be compensated for their skills.

Patronize Our Businesses. All the likes and follows in the world won’t pay the rent. You have to put your money where your mouth is. If you want to see more women in business—whether it’s in the outdoor industry or beyond—you need to buy things from them. And don’t ask them to discount it or ship it for free. What might seem insignificant to you is enough to make it or break it at scale.

Accept Us For Us. Women are diverse. We do not fit into a box. Accept us for how we show up in the world any way we want—mascara and pretty nails, dirty feet and stained tees, loud, quiet, fat, skinny, straight, queer, black, brown. You get the point. We’re done trying to adhere to what society expects of us. We’re carving our own path and we want you to stand next to us.

It’s Not About Going Big. Or summiting the peak or topping out or dropping the downhill. We like to recreate in the outdoors on our own terms. The idea that we have to push the limits and make it to the top reinforces a masculine and patriarchal narrative that is not inclusive or welcoming. And be reminded that we’re not doing it to get fit. We do it because of our connection to the natural world and how good it makes us feel.

Examine Your Bias. In an article I wrote for SNEWS, I explored the hidden gender bias that holds us all back. Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin, Founding Partner of The Avarna Group, a consulting firm that provides insights and resources on equity, diversity, and inclusion for organizations, said that she has even seen people who are well-versed in social justice issues not recognize their own bias. She shared these four ways to battle unconscious gender bias:

  1. Support the storytelling of women in our own brands by ensuring they are equally represented in ambassador and athlete teams, in social media feeds, and in marketing copy and imagery.
  2. Expose ourselves to women who are doing amazing things by listening to podcasts, attending panels, and reading articles that highlight the work and adventures of women.
  3. Celebrate, credit, and tell the stories of women making important contributions to your company. And, be mindful of masculinizing stories or centering men who contributed to a success but didn’t lead it.
  4. Remove bias from existing industry awards and support industry awards or even create industry awards that help highlight the accomplishments of women.
This is an incomplete list that grows and changes frequently. There’s no one answer, just like there is no one woman. We’re all in this together, listening and learning, acknowledging our failures and blind spots, changing and striving to be better.