The outdoor industry is still an old boy's club

Almost half of women in the outdoor industry have witnessed discrimination. Camber Outdoors executive director shares unsettling survey results on gender inequality in the outdoor industry.
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St. Michael's College women's ice program, Smuggler's Notch, VT. February 2016. Photo: Andrea Charest

It's no secret that the outdoor industry has been said to be a bit of an old boy's club. So it wasn't a shock when Camber Outdoors conducted a workplace study in spring, and proved that the outdoor industry isn’t immune to gender inequalities. A total of 1,868 outdoor industry professionals (both men and women) answered the detailed online survey, and overwhelmingly, women voiced a concern over discrimination and gender-based barriers. Here are some of the key takeaways:   

· Only 42 percent of women in the outdoor industry feel that they are paid equal to men.

· Fifty-one percent of women say there aren’t equal opportunities for career advancement in the industry.

· Only 28 percent of women felt that having children would impact their job the same as it would for a man.

· Sixty-seven percent of women say they aren’t provided equal training within the industry.

· Almost half of women have witnessed or heard comments that discriminatory or biased within the industry.

After seeing these results, Deanne Buck, executive director of Camber Outdoors, wanted to immediately start a dialogue to navigate a solution. The organization will host a webinar on this Wednesday at 12 p.m. (Mountain time).

It's no coincidence that this webinar is coming at a time when a new case of sexual harassment in politics and Hollywood headline every morning news show. While Buck hasn't heard of harassment cases in the industry, she said she wants to be proactive instead of reactive. One goal of the webinar is to encourage participants to ask what the policy is on sexual harassment in their companies and what the reporting process is, if he or she doesn't know already.

Who in the outdoor industry has done the most for gender inequality?

“As an organization that is committed to women’s leadership in the outdoors, we wanted to make sure we acknowledged this is something that is a barrier to women achieving equality in the workplace,” Buck says.

Participants in Camber’s upcoming webinar can expect to hear from Buck about the potential implications of these statistics and have a chance to ask questions. 

“We want a conversation between men and women so that we can come to an agreement on what a good work place looks like – one where everyone feels safe, where there is equal pay, and where everyone can contribute.”


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