International Women’s Day - Choose to Challenge

International Women’s Day - Choose to Challenge

Since 1911 International Women's Day has celebrated the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women across the world. The day also marks a call to action, to raise awareness about women's equality and to lobby for accelerating gender parity.

This year’s campaign theme is #ChooseToChallenge. We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.

We asked dryrobe® ambassadors Cal Major and Sophie Hellyer to share what they feel the biggest challenge is within their sports to achieving gender parity, as well as offering advice to other women facing similar challenges in their own sports or activities.

Cal Major

Cal Major

In your opinion, what's the biggest challenge within your sport to achieve gender parity?

I think SUP is a great sport for gender balance because it's accessible to everyone. There are so many disciplines within the sport, from racing to surfing, that people with different interests can get involved with - regardless of gender. I think one area that could be improved is in competitions - the male categories seem to have the most focus placed on them, and certainly when I used to compete in SUP surf competitions it seemed that the men's comp was run at the time of day with best conditions. But there are so many amazing women kicking ass in the SUP competition world now that it's hard NOT to take notice of them too. Women are not small men with lesser physical strength - we have our own individual strengths and abilities that make us powerful and capable in ways different to men, and I think acknowledging that is really important.



What advice would you give other women facing challenges in their own sport?

I think it's so important to be really sure of your own intentions. Why are you doing this sport? Is it because you truly love it or because you feel you have something to prove? Neither is wrong, but coming at it from a place of joy and love, and basing your achievements on your own goalposts, is so important. What are your own strengths as a sportsperson - whatever level you're at? SUP is great because it can be quite technical, so regardless of size or physical build you can harness the wind or wave or tide power, and learning everything you can about your interaction with the water on a SUP can be really empowering and exciting.

@cal_major // calmajor.com

 

Sophie Hellyer

Sophie Hellyer

In your opinion, what's the biggest challenge within your sport to achieve gender parity?

IMO, the way women are represented in surfing is a huge challenge. Female athletes are often objectified, sexualised and shown non-participating (e.g. posing on a beach) where their male counterparts will be shown in an image right next to them (doing a big air or getting barrelled). It’s great to see female-led independent media, like Sea Together Magazine and Daughters of the Sea, leading the way to represent women fairly.



What advice would you give other women facing challenges in their own sport?

Do it for the joy of it. I often get weighed down in the politics of surfing, localism and sexism and the environmental damage, but the best thing for me is to just get in the water and remember why I love it. This gives me the fire I need to overcome the challenges.

@sophiehellyer // risefierce.com

 

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