Op-Ed: Why it's time for outdoor women to act


Outdoor women are strong as hell, says Misadventures writer Carolyn Highland. It's time to band together and get to work.

This story was first published at misadventuresmag.com.

Nearly half a million people showed up for the Women's March on Washington on Jan. 21, the day after President Donald Trump's inauguration. // Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Nearly half a million people showed up for the Women's March on Washington on Jan. 21, the day after President Donald Trump's inauguration. // Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Let’s be honest. On Nov. 8, the country made a decision that put everything we hold dear under attack. On Jan. 21, millions of women worldwide stood up and howled their dissent. That was Day 1. But we need to show up for days 2 - 1,460. This is why outdoor women need to lead the charge in the new political climate.

1. We’ve got a lot of skin in this game.

We are women. Our rights are being compromised, our abilities questioned, and our worth belittled. We are told we have no say over what happens to our bodies. We are paid 88 cents on the dollar (and even less, if we are women of color). We are treated as objects rather than complex, intricate human beings. We are spoken to and about with disrespect and disregard. We are told that there is a right and a wrong way to be a woman.

We love this planet. We thrive on time spent in the outdoors—in the mountains, the forests, the oceans, the rivers, the lakes, the deserts. We understand that science is real, and that we are actively destroying the environment that we live in. We know that we are on borrowed time—and that we have to fight every second to protect our home if we want to save it.

We play on public lands. We spend our early mornings, our evenings, our weekends, and our vacation time enjoying the natural splendor of this country in parks, forests, wildernesses, recreation areas, and open spaces that have been protected for everyone to enjoy. We run, hike, camp, backpack, bike, climb, ski, snowboard, snowshoe, surf, raft, fish, kayak, SUP, and swim in these special, sacred spaces that are now under threat.

Many of us have even more to worry about. People of color. Immigrants. The LGBTQ community. People with disabilities. Those who need access to affordable health care. Those who want a quality education for their children.

This affects all of us, most of us in more ways than one. It’s time to stand up and fight.

2. We’re tough as shit.

Ladies. We are outdoor women. We run uphill and ski technical lines and haul our bodies up rock faces and shred singletrack and drop cliffs and navigate rapids. We set gear and dig snow pits and manage backcountry risk and respond to emergencies in the wilderness and get back up when we fall down. We sweat and we reach and we hold on and we dig deep.

We do hard things for fun. We keep going even when we feel we cannot. We are the ideal soldiers for change. We will stare seemingly unsurmountable odds in the face and feel energized rather than discouraged. Our fellow humans and the planet need us. We need us. And so we must rise.

Head to Misadventures to read three more reasons why outdoor women need to step up, now, plus ways you can get involved immediately.



I'm fired up: It's time to feature more women in outdoor media

In 2013, after years of subscribing to outdoor magazines, and rarely seeing women on the pages or in the bylines, Zoe Balaconis, Marybeth Campeau, and I decided to do something about it. We founded Misadventures, an outdoor and adventure magazine for women. After all, ...read more

Courtesy: Kelty

Kelty’s #MustFollow Outdoor Women on Instagram

There’s something magical about seeing the world through a different set of eyes. For many of us, Instagram is a source of inspiration, community, and endless new adventures to add to our bucket list. At Kelty, we’ve connected with some amazing women through Instagram. From ...read more

Latina woman with long brown hair tied back, brown eyes, black coat, gold hoop earrings and red lipstick speaking into microphone

Op-Ed: Chris Goddard says we need to do more to support women in the outdoor industry

Last week, Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was accosted by Republican Congressman Ted Yoho, who in front of reporters called her a f***ing b**** on the steps of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. This was, according to reports, an unprovoked attack. He did ...read more


Editor's Note: In celebration of outdoor women

It was almost 22 years ago this month that I landed the job of my dreams: Assistant Gear Editor at my favorite magazine, Backpacker. I was 25 years old and fresh out of grad school. I knew nothing about how magazines work. I knew nothing about editing or writing. I only knew a ...read more

Dan Nordstrom, CEO of Outdoor Research

Opinion: It’s time for the outdoor industry to use its political strength

Dan Nordstrom, CEO of Outdoor Research, says the outdoor industry needs all hands on deck. Given last week’s news, that Utah will not be in consideration as a venue when the current Outdoor Retailer contract expires, I think it’s important to stop and consider the issue in a ...read more

Gale Straub, founder of She Explores  Photo: Courtesy

She Explores is a showcase for creative outdoor women

As the Kelty team joins efforts with SNEWS to celebrate the women of the outdoor industry, we found ourselves reflecting on who inspires us. Gale Straub immediately came to mind. As the creator of She Explores, Gale is building a resource and outlet for the creative outdoors ...read more


Women and marketing: Why gender-specific plans don’t work

Any attendee at Outdoor Retailer or SnowSports Industries America’s trade shows has seen them: scantily clad women parading around the show floor handing out promotional material or invitations to happy hours. Spend a few moments and watch these walking models, and you will note, ...read more


SNEWS Qs: Oiselle CEO discusses why women and women's products rule

New women's-only brands seem to be launching every season. Sally Bergesen, CEO at women’s running apparel brand Oiselle, said women rule — and that’s why so many female-oriented brands have popped up in recent years. Women do indeed control a majority of the global spending ...read more

Hold the pink. Some women prefer red. Photo: Courtesy

I'm Fired Up: What women DON'T want

WHEN I TAKE A BREAK FROM MY DESK to go for a run in the hills near our office, I have a bit of an identity crisis. I go into the bathroom wearing all black and come out looking a lot brighter. The running shoes I wear are pink, the technical shorts I wear are powder blue, and the ...read more