If you ask your non-climbing friends whether they’re sporty, quite often it’ll be mainly men who put their hands up. From the women, you’re more likely to hear “I’m no good at sport” to “I’m just not interested.” This gender difference is marked.
Research carried out by Sport England revealed that two million fewer women than men are active. However, 75 percent of those women said they want to do more sport.
So what’s holding them back?
There are a myriad of social issues which create the beliefs preventing women from participating in sport. Sport England held focus groups as part of the This Girl Can campaign and found that a fear of judgement far outweighs women’s confidence to exercise. Whether this is about how they look, whether they’re any good at sport or that they feel guilty spending time on themselves rather than their family, this fear is putting women off.
#Women Outdoors Week Campaign
The reason so many campaigns are created around encouraging women in sport is to help tackle these fears and assumptions. We do understand that it’s frustrating for some people that it seems like women get all the offers and events to try and encourage them to take part in activity, and some feel that by their very nature, these campaigns are sexist.
The Women’s Climbing Symposium, This Girl Can Campaign and now #Women Outdoors Week are not trying to be sexist; they just want to show women that all size and shapes can get active and not to fear it. And that it’s never too late to get involved!
The Castle’s Involvement
During 5-15 August the Castle will be supporting the BMC by offering discounted courses to women and encouraging course participants to join in the Women With Altitude session for free on 15th August.
Climbing walls can be very male dominated places with men usually outnumbering women 3 to 1. This can make it a very daunting prospect for women to get involved in climbing, especially bouldering where there is a lot of spectating and watching others climb.
Get Other’s Involved!
Over 50% of those who participate in climbing were first introduced to the sport by friends, so we’re keen to encourage those already involved (male and female) in outdoor activities to introduce women they know to the hills, crags, mountains or climbing walls. Whether it’s a friend, mum, daughter, auntie or sister, we all know someone who would like to get more active, and would benefit from climbing or hill walking.
Here are some great ideas to get out walking or climbing close to London: Walks
If you can’t get out in the hills throughout #WomenOutdoors Week why not introduce a female friend to climbing indoors and maybe try one of our fun, group participation courses together!
Win awesome prizes
Be in with a chance of winning a prize from the Castle by getting outdoors and then sharing your photos with us on Instagram – using #WomenOutdoors @thecastleclimbingcentre or Twitter – using #WomenOutdoors @CastleClimbing
Cotswold Outdoor are supporting the BMC campaign and are also offering up some awesome prizes. Again, get outdoors and share your photos or comments with them on Twitter – @TGCclimbing, @CotswoldOutdoor #WomenOutdoors.
Make a difference
The benefits of getting active in the outdoors are huge; 45% of women are not active enough for good health and physical inactivity is the fourth largest cause of disease and disability in the UK according to Public Health England. By getting involved in #WomenOutdoors Week, and supporting women you know to make that first step into trying a new activity you can make a real difference to someone's physical and mental health.