You can’t look at sponsored outdoor athlete line ups and pretend there aren’t gender, ableist, and racial gaps in mountaineering.
You can’t pretend that there isn’t oppression on mountaintops.
You can’t pretend that there isn’t a glass ceiling preventing certain people from reaching summits.
You can’t pretend that white men don’t have a powerful grip on the mountains.
Sometimes I dare to dream about what a truly diverse and inclusive industry would look like. I was daydreaming on my way up Pahto (Mt. Adams) recently and asked myself— When will there be enough representation? Then it dawned on me. “When there are nine.”– Justice RBG on full representation in the Supreme Court.
There will be enough representation in the outdoor industry when 100% of a brand’s SPONSORED ATHLETE lineup consists of only DIVERSE genders unafraid of being their authentic selves. I want to see people of marginalized genders on just as many FULLY SPONSORED DOCUMENTED EXPEDITIONS that we’ve seen men on. We’ve seen all men teams for decades, why does it seem so radical for women/non-binary/gender non-conforming folks to do the same?
I stopped and cried about how beautiful and impactful that would be to see in my lifetime. Then I started sobbing because of how far we are from that and how much work that’ll take.
So how do we get there? We get there by making space for each other, supporting each other to dream big, training hard, stepping into leadership roles, and challenging the status quo. That means challenging men to take up less space, resources, mentorship, and media. That means we stop settling for breadcrumbs. Only then can underrepresented genders START to achieve more. Let’s go for it all and celebrate every small victory that gets us there.
(For equity and justice I want all the seats at the table, but I’ll save that rant for another day… )
“All I ask of our brethren, is that they take their feet off our necks.”-Sarah Grimke (popularized by RBG)
TL;DR- Let’s go full RBG. Support diverse women to dream big and overthrow the patriarchy.