Inspirational adventure-loving women give their advice on getting ahead in a male-dominated outdoors
International Women’s Day? I’m not sold.
I’m writing this on Thursday, the day after IWD23. I’ve just read that the cost of UK childcare is estimated to be close to £15,000 per child per year – double that of comparable countries. Let’s all take a moment to guess which gender this impacts the most.
The first International Women’s Day took place 112 years ago. On 19 March 1911, more than a million women, and men, headed into the streets to raise their voices in favour of women’s rights to work, and protest against gender discrimination. That’s 122 IWDs. That’s 122 years of opportunity to change a system in which “two-thirds of women [in the UK] with childcare responsibilities believe they have missed out on career progression as a direct result”.
We have always set out to run ACM with gender parity. A 50/50 male/female split in our leadership team is integral to this, as is our approach to remote working and flexible hours. Combined with the new family policy that we have in the works, I’m proud of the strides that we’re making towards our equality goals, but we’ve still got work to do; it still feels like the outdoor industry that we’re a part of is a long way off recognising and supporting those who do not identify as women, but are still perceived as such.
The IWD content we’ve created this week (and that you can find below) aims to showcase some of the badass women we have the privilege of working with, and provides some simple but effective advice for any female hoping to make a career in the male-dominated outdoors. It was a joy to work on this with ACM’s team of super talented account directors, Ruth, Charley, and Lyndsay, and if it helps or inspires just one girl or woman get a foot in the door, then our simple idea will have been a success.
My team and I are in a very privileged position, and that’s not lost on me. As women who love the outdoors, we are free to lace our trainers, open our front doors, and head out for a run – one of life’s simplest pleasures. It’s a pleasure and a freedom the women of Afghanistan, and other countries, do not have.
In all honesty, I hadn’t given much thought to this type of outdoor freedom until I saw the film Free to Run. It tells the story of the global charity that the movie takes its name from, and details what happened to its female founders when the Taliban took back control of their country last year. It’s a film I will never forget. I now see running, and all the other outdoor activities I enjoy so much, with much more appreciation.
We’ve got a long way to go yet.
Jojo – co-founder, ACM.
Free to Run is an award-winning charity creating female leaders in areas of conflict through outdoor sports and adventure. ACM is making a donation to honour IWD23.