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The outdoor industry is a progressive one. It is filled with idealists, people in search of no less than a better world. We publicly take stands for environmental conservation, for clean water, and social justice. We risk our reputations, we speak out, and we moved our biggest retail show, based on these values.

Every day I am honored to be a part of this community, working toward our shared future.

But there are times when our industry doesn’t live up to our own progressive ideals.

We need to be more inclusive. We need to make access to the outdoors more equitable. And we need to hear from those people we’ve sidelined and underestimated—including the strong women leaders in our industry.

With that goal in mind, I am proud to announce a partnership between SNEWS and LifeStraw to bring the industry HER Voice: a monthly column that will focus on women's issues in the outdoor industry.

Our goal for this column is to continue adding to the rich conversation that already exists, to highlight new women leaders—engineers, activists, and change makers in the industry—and to continue to make progress on elevating women, and their collective voices, across the outdoor industry.

As a watchdog of our industry, The Voice continues to tackle relevant subject matter, much of which reveals disturbing gaps between perception and reality. In January, The Voice and #SafeOutside issued results of a landmark survey about sexual misconduct, power and gender bias in the outdoor industry. One of the statistics I found most telling was that while 65 percent of women believe gender bias exists in the outdoor industry, only 10 percent of men do.

I wish I could say this was surprising, but it’s in line with my own experience. As managing director of LifeStraw, I have attended numerous trade shows, have been a guest speaker at conferences, and participated in meetings at which I was mistaken for the administrative assistant of a male staffer. At a recent OR show, our head of brand, Tara Lundy received a compliment for being more knowledgeable than the traditional “booth babe.” In subtle ways, every day, women are put down, assumed to be junior and expected to be less knowledgeable than the men in the room.

This isn't unique to the outdoor industry, I know that.

But it stands in direct opposition to our values. We should all do better and do more.

What we aspire to do with this column, HER Voice, is raise the profile of women in the industry. So that next time you meet someone at a conference or out on the trail, you don’t assume she’s there as a sidekick to someone else. She’s likely there kicking ass, blazing her own trail.


Five women stand laughing with the bottoms of their skis and snowboards facing the camera. Each bottom reads "Coalition."

Women make cupcakes. Men make beer and gear.

Take a look around you. Whether you realize it or not, you’re likely surrounded by women who have started their own businesses. According to the 2018 study “State of Women-Owned Business Report,” commissioned by American Express, four of every 10 U.S. businesses are owned by ...read more


Industry Buzz: HER Voice, Toray, Nat Geo adventure competition, Fischer Skis, Sting, and more

Today we launched an exciting new column called HER Voice in partnership with LifeStraw. Managing Director Alison Hill kicks things off with an overview of the project: "Our goal for this column is to continue adding to the rich conversation that already exists, to highlight new ...read more

Woman carrying yellow and black backpack walking between green plants with mountains in the distance.

Women’s participation is up. Female bylines are still down.

This year, Nike released its first-ever female-specific skateboard shoe. The World Surf League now pays out equal prize money to men and women. Burton Snowboards just amended their athlete contracts to support and protect their female riders during pregnancy. We are in a unique ...read more

White woman in orange tank top and black shorts runs up rocky mountainside with hills and mountains faded in the background.

Why sponsoring women makes "cents"

Gaze around at contests such as the GoPro Mountain Games and Red Bull Rampage, and you might think that only men play sports—on a professional level, anyway. Women’s sport sponsorship lags well behind men’s, and although comparative data is scarce, the one nation that did study ...read more

Magazine cover of The Voice. Illustration of hiker moving towrds a snow-capped mountain with blue sky

Read the digital issue of The Voice, No. 2

The issues you hear in the hallways of trade shows and in conversations at your store or business? We explored those on paper. Our new trade journal, The Voice, dives into the big questions facing our industry. Read our latest issue online or subscribe to receive a hard copy. ...read more

blurry bonfire for sex assault story

Sex, power, and the outdoor industry, Part II

In 2005, Sarah* was wrapping up her fifth year as a seasonal guide for a wilderness camp in the South. Normally awkward and shy, she had blossomed there, growing into a gifted leader and teacher. She had spent the last five years fixing trails and teaching her young charges how ...read more

Two young black kids reach into a chalk box of sidewalk chalk shaped like Crayola crayons.

Why onsite childcare benefits your business

For many new parents, attending Outdoor Retailer comes at a cost: leaving your kiddos behind. But, for Tessa Byars, the PR and communications manager at Patagonia, it was as easy as climbing into the cab of a truck. “Our daughter was six months so my husband joined,” Byars ...read more

the voice brick wall 2

Welcome to The Voice, issue #2

At the Outdoor Retailer Snow Show in January, we were so thrilled to drop the first issue of The Voice, our independent, unfiltered, engaged outdoor industry trade mag to critical acclaim. Subscribe to The Voice And now, as Summer Market approaches, we’re busy working on issue ...read more

Mirna Valerio, Latoya Shauntay, and Latria Graham, smile as they stand in their sports bras and leggings at the Pursuit Series.

Body positivity isn’t enough

It was a simple case of mistaken identity: Earlier this year I was at The Outbound's Pursuit Series adult summer camp in North Carolina when an ultrarunner walks up and introduces herself: “Hi, Mirna, I follow you on Instagram.” I put my coffee cup down and shake her hand before ...read more