Thursday, 30 August 2007

Gender Divide

Having been told an alarming statistic the other day about how few women climb hard in Scotland, I came to thinking about the gender divide in climbing. Clearly, climbing is a male dominated sport, probably at both professional and amateur levels. Although there is no shortage of amazing and inspiring female climbers, I sometimes wonder whether women shy away from climbing, believing that it is competitive, macho and testosterone-fuelled. Personally, I have encountered very few displays of unpleasant behaviour in this regard, and when I have, they have been easy to walk away from.

I am, however, a firm believer that being female offers distinct advantages in climbing, and that there is no reason why with some effort, women can't climb as hard as they like. We're generally (although not always!) smaller and lighter and therefore have a better power to weight ratio. We have small fingers - I can get all 4 fingers into a pocket that Martin could only fit 2 into. How cool is that? We might not be able to lank things, but we all know that lanky boys have no body tension! I'm sure I don't even need to mention the sit-starts issue....

Anyway, back to what I really wanted to know, which was what the gender divide is between readers of my blog. If I make a perhaps unrealistic assumption and suggest that folks who read this are probably climbers, I wonder what the split is? Help me out and complete the poll on the right. I hope I will be pleasantly surprised....

8 comments:

john said...

So its official that tall folk have problems with sit starts? Thank god I now have an excuse for being shite at bouldering - at 6ft3 I find getting off the ground really hard on problems which my mate (who leads approx the same level) sails up.

alpinedreamer said...

Hi John,
I wouldn't presume that my saying something makes it official! However, going by the loud protestations of my taller climbing buddies, it seems that height is indeed an obstacle rather than an advantage when it comes to sit starts.

Can't you just lank it? ;-)

Emma

Ian said...

Bloke, and non-climber....

Tom C-E said...

Change your vote!?

Lesley-Ann said...

Funny you should mention the genger issue, as i was thinking about that the other week. The majority of folk i climb trad with are blokes.
I think females might be put off climbing because of pushy blokes who scare the crap out of you while climbing! Maybe i'm just climbing with the wrong people.....

Alex said...

remember: there are good climbers, and then there are tall climbers.

(so declares the short Yank)

alpinedreamer said...

Lesley-Ann,
If you're climbing with people who scare the crap out of you I'm surprised you're still climbing! Unless you get a kick out of being terrified...?!
There are plenty of other people out there to build a climbing partnership with, you just have to work out how much you're prepared to put up with being scared. Personally, if my belayer scares me I don't climb with them. End of. My life is in their hands; it's as simple as that.

Emma

Alexia said...

Height is an issue for me... always seem to be an inch too short for most holds (at fulls stretch), however always managed to find a way around it. Makes sit-starts fairly easy :-)

I've pretty much always had male climbing partners... would be interesting, and a nice change, to have a female climbing partner.