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

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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.

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