GO! Girls Outdoors

A resource for women in Outdoor Education and Recreation

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Gear Resources
Gear manufacturers have realised that lots of women like the outdoors and they're different shapes from men. Here's what's out there, and where you can buy it.

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Travel Resources
A selection of travel resources especially for women who love to travel. Includes a list of online communities if you do it yourself, or companies if you need a little help.

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Surfing Resources
Listed here are some links to resources from all over the world that cater to women who love surfing.

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Hiking Resources
Extended walks are great for the mind and spirit and lots of women love to take part in them. Check out these resources and get inspired to go on a walking adventure.

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Snow Sports

Snow Sports Resources
Skiing, snowboarding, backcountry, polar expeditions - all done in the snow and all done by lots of amazing women.  Check out these resources to find out more...

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Kayaking Resources
White water, surfing, sea kayaking, sprint racing, marathon racing, multisport, fishing...is there anything you can't do from a kayak? Explore these resources!

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Cycling Resources
A list of resources for all sorts of cycling - mountain biking, road biking, touring, racing, recreation and commuting - all specific to women.

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Climbing Resources
Women can (and have) achieved incredible things in climbing. Listed in this section are a collection of climbing and moutaineering resources that are useful and inspiring for all climbers.

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A list of organisations that cater exclusively to women, or run trips exclusively for women. A great way to find a women-specific adventure in your area.

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Outdoor Industry

Outdoor Industry Resources
Looking for resources to help you plan programs, companies and organisations that cater for women or organisations you can join? Look no further...

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Girls' Day Out

Girls' Day OutAs I flicked idly through Saturday’s paper last weekend, I spotted a pink advertisement advertising Girls’ Day Out, Tasmania’s Female Lifestyle Expo, which was being held that Sunday at Wrest Point, only a few kilometres out of Hobart. The advertisement caught my eye with its bold statement that the event would provide “everything a woman could want”, and because my Sunday turned out to be a little quiet, I decided to go along and check it out.

For some reason my partner Dave didn’t want to come, so in reverence to typical gender stereotyping I left him at home fixing the lawnmower and mowing the grass in his flannelette shirt, gumboots and a cloud of smoke.  I enlisted my mum to come with me instead and together we joined the crowds of women who were flocking to the event.  Mum was pretty surprised that I wanted to go in the first place (just as I was surprised that she wanted to join me), so before we went in I filled her in on what I was researching: what does “everything a woman could want” actually consist of, and is it what we (as women) want?

We didn’t last very long!  We had a quick stroll through “Beauty” and observed the modelling agencies, health spas, makeup displays and a wide variety of creams and ointments.  In “Fashion & Accessories” we look at scarves, bags, jewellery, dresses and shoes.  In “Wedding” we admired a white-iced cake and some poofy dresses, in “Lifestyle & Homeware” I picked up a pack that provided a free funnel and information about becoming a Tupperware rep.  In “Health & Wellbeing” we marvelled at the incredible weight loss techniques that are currently available to women in Tasmania, and empathised with the lady at the Pap Smear stall who didn’t have any visitors.  While we wandered we missed a presentation on makeup techniques and a fashion parade, and we missed out on winning a makeover package, a $600 Bridal Gift Voucher, a gym membership and a Pamper Package.

After less than half an hour we’d both had enough and went to sit in the sun with a cup of coffee.  As it turns out, “everything a woman could want” was not really what we wanted.  Practically everything in the building was about plastering stuff on (makeup, creams and lotions, clothing, accessories and so on) or taking stuff off (fat, mostly).  To make everyone feel better, there was a selection of cakes, sweets, coffee, daiquiris and champagne - probably secretly sponsored by the “Health and Fitness” (or rather the “Weightloss”) section. The whole place seemed to be saying “look, you’re ok but not quite good enough as you are - you really should wear this, apply that, lose a little weight, put these accessories on and then you’ll be perfect”.    I looked down at my jeans and my shoes that were splattered with white paint from when I did the fence last summer, then over at the beautifully made up, fashionably dressed ladies that were perusing the expo and started to think they might be right…

But no.  The fact that I couldn’t appreciate “everything a woman could want” is fine by me.  We had a nice coffee, went to sample the Body Shop’s wares and then went home.  As I pedalled home on my bike I thought about what would be at my ideal Female Lifestyle Expo.  What is “everything a woman could want” according to me, and would such an event attract as many women as the Girls’ Day Out?

I want health and happiness, an environment that’s valued and looked after, some brain exercise and a few outdoor adventures.  I know that others are interested in these things too, because people read this website!  As I pedalled home I realised how lucky I am that my happiness is not controlled by fashion, a need to get married and what accessories I own.  I’m lucky that I enjoy riding to work and going for a paddle or climb so I don’t have to go to the gym, and I’m incredibly lucky that my motivation to do these things is not a result of wanting to lose weight.  And most of all, I’m lucky that I am able to express my femininity in ways other than with makeup, clothes and accessories because I’m just not very good with all that stuff.

In reverence to gender stereotyping...Perhaps the Girls’ Day Out was rollicking good fun for some people, but not for me.  It was interesting, I learnt a few things and my hands were silky smooth from The Body Shop’s Hemp Handcream, but it’s really not my scene.  Next year I’ll go for a paddle instead!

Read about the event at The Mercury’s website.

If you’re interested in finding out about femininity in the outdoors, check out the Gender Information section on GO! Girls Outdoors and in particular, this article:

Girls in the woods: exploring the impact of a wilderness program on adolescent girls' constructions of femininity.  A paper by Anja Whittington, published in 2006 in The Journal of Experiential Education. [28(3), 285-289].

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