A new column examining gender bias and its impact within the outdoor industry
Her Voice logo sized for banner

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.

Related

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

sexual misconduct pull quote

Sex, power, and the outdoor industry

Nora* was having one of those days. She was one of the few Westerners in her multinational company, and her factory trips to Asia often involved tough interactions with coworkers that made her feel isolated. After a frustrating 12-hour workday, she had dinner with the group and ...read more

fresh faces_the voice

Read the digital issue of The Voice

In the debut of our new trade journal, and in the following issues, you'll find stories that dig deep into important issues the outdoor industry faces.  Not displaying properly? Read directly on ISSUU here Features The End of Elite: When Walmart marketed Black Diamond last ...read more

The Voice issue #1 cover

We'll mail you a free copy of The Voice

The show floor at Outdoor Retailer Snow show was abuzz last week about The Voice, our new independent trade journal for the outdoor and snow sports industry. We tackled big, important, difficult topics, like REI's role and impact, sexual harassment and assault, trade shows, ...read more

the voice brick wall 2

We need your feedback on The Voice

As the leading outdoor industry trade publication, we strive to serve you, our readers. That's why we launched The Voice and that's why we're circulating the first reader survey. We want to know what you think, want, like, or dislike—we're asking for total, brutal honesty. The ...read more