Working in the Outdoors as a Female Instructor

Are women underrepresented in the outdoor industry?

Working in the outdoors is pretty special. Spending your days in the fresh air, under the sunshine (hopefully! ☀️ ) encouraging people to discover their own adventure under your supervision.

Not to mention doing what you love as a career, discovering new places around the world and having the freedom to legitimately travel for your job! All sounds pretty good right? So why then do these enticing job traits largely seem to be attracting only male instructors?

Well, dig a little deeper and there may be more going on than meets the eye.

Of course, all of the above reasons for working outdoors could be a huge draw for anybody; regardless of gender. So the reason that our industry is largely male-dominated must lie elsewhere.

It is not that women aren’t also drawn to outdoor work through their love of adventure. More so that in such an underrepresented leadership role, it may not even feel like a realistic job opportunity for some!

If you struggle to provide strong role models for the next generation then that cycle of uninspired young women will continue to track back round.

In the UK, recent research shows that 13-15 year old girls are the least active population in the country. Of course there are many factors that determine this statistic but, already, this particular group are on the proverbial back foot. Instead, imagine a world where these young girls could be shown the great outdoors by strong, knowledgeable and passionate female instructors and leaders – I’m sure there would be a trail of inspiration left behind on each and every one of those adventures.

voices to be listened to

It’s all very well reading about the misrepresentation of women in the outdoor industry and why it should change, but where is the inspiration we spoke about? What’s going to put the fire in our bellies to make a real change?

Maybe you’re reading this as a potential instructor and would love to hear from the women who have been there, done it and got the T-shirt? Well, you’re in luck! We interviewed Jo and Ann from Original Wild’s instructor team to find their view on what it’s like to work as a women in the outdoor industry.

JO – Paddlesport Instructor & Hill and Moorland Leader

Hi Jo! How did you first get into the industry?

I found a fast track instructor course (4-months) which encompassed all my passions and would give me qualifications and personal growth even if it didn’t lead to employment, thankfully it did and I’m freelancing now!

Do you think women are represented enough in the outdoor industry?

I do feel that there are more men in the industry, but equally as a freelancer every company I’ve worked for have lots of women on their books which is great!

Have you faced any particular challenges being a woman in the outdoor industry?

Personally I haven’t found any challenges since being in the industry. I feel that everybody I’ve met has been encouraging and really supportive of a newbie.

ANN – Paddlesport Leader, Open Water Swimming Coach & Forest School Leader

Hi Ann. What would you say to any women who are thinking of becoming an outdoor instructor?

I would say go for it!!! The industry has changed massively and promoted a more diverse personnel. It is important that there are more females in the industry to encourage, empower and make the industry more accessible to females in our society.

What’s your favourite part of working outdoors?

This is hard to answer! I love the challenge of change that the outdoor gives us every day; from the seasons, weathers, terrain, water flow, to group dynamics. It’s a ‘WOW’ life at any age!

Do you think women are represented enough in the outdoor industry?

Unfortunately not, however, it is getting better. There are often courses which are fully or partially funded to up-skill females in activities such as climbing and paddling. This is a great way of gaining some experience and getting your foot in the door!

If you’re looking to get into the outdoor industry as a women then please feel free to get in touch with any questions you may have. We will be happy to help and give you any advice you need. 

We’re also hiring for the 2023 season and would love to hear from you if you are a Bath-based adventurer! Check out our Careers page for more info.

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