/ NEWS:Kendal M' Festivals: A woman's place? Your questions.

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Michael Ryan - on 24 Oct 2008
Whilst climbing and mountaineering is a sport long dominated by men, participation levels amongst women have increased and women represent around 25% of all climbers according to the BMC. Women enjoy climbing as much as men (that's official) and the elite women perform quite often as well as the top boys (that's also official).

But, still there are issues.

Are there barriers, perceived or real, that prevent women from starting climbing?

Is climbing sexist?

Can women ever perform at the level of the top men - in the Alps or on the boulders?

How can male climbers be educated about women's issues without crying FEMINIST!!!!

Will we ever have a female CEO of the BMC?

Should a mother climb?

In a climbing marriage with kids how come it is the woman who doesn't get to go out climbing?


On Sunday 23 November at 4.00pm at the Kendal Mountain Festival such questions and many more will be discussed in a round table event, A woman's place? when Lucy Creamer will join Steph Davis, Zoe Hart and Karen Darke in a panel chaired by Louise Thomas to talk with the audience about issues relating to women and climbing. Run along the lines of 'Any Questions?'.

YOU can put your own questions to the panel in advance by posting them on this thread.

News item herte: http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/older.html?month=10&year=2008#n45399
zachary lesch-huie on 24 Oct 2008 - 66-190-153-162.dhcp.hckr.nc.charter.com
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Great topic! Rock climbing culture is ripe for these questions.

This may sound crazy to some folks, but I'm proud to describe myself as a male feminist. That's why the question, "How can male climbers be educated about women's issues without crying FEMINIST!!!!", irritates me.

The question isn't how we can avoid feminism. It's already quite feminist to even ask any of these questions at all. Feminism is precisely the reason why these topics come up!

That's why ukclimbing.com should give themselves a pat on the back for being feminists. Nice job fellows!
Offwidth - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Are there barriers, perceived or real, that prevent women from starting climbing? Yes but nothing a determined person won't overcome.

Is climbing sexist? No but some climbers are.

Can women ever perform at the level of the top men - in the Alps or on the boulders? There are physiological differences that will make equality of performance difficult even in a perfect world...this works both ways of course women may well one day outperform men on average in some aspects of climbing.

How can male climbers be educated about women's issues without crying FEMINIST!!!! Stupid insulting leading question please reword or remove it.

Will we ever have a female CEO of the BMC? Yes.

Should a mother climb? Yes.

In a climbing marriage with kids how come it is the woman who doesn't get to go out climbing? Stupid insulting leading question please reword or remove it.

ericinbristol - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to Offwidth:
>
> How can male climbers be educated about women's issues without crying FEMINIST!!!! Stupid insulting leading question please reword or remove it.
>

Agreed, and it is sexist, tarring all men with the same brush

> In a climbing marriage with kids how come it is the woman who doesn't get to go out climbing? Stupid insulting leading question please reword or remove it.

Agreed, more sexism.

Fighting sexism with, er, sexism. Yes, that'll work....



Michael Ryan - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to Eric Herring:

Those are two questions/statements that are frequently heard. Of course all men are not the same!
gingerkate - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:
Good idea to talk about these issues, but seems to me the chosen format isn't great. No woman is more an expert than any other on this ... it blatantly obviously isn't related to how hard you climb... so a real round table, with a really tough, firm chair to make sure no-one hogs the time, would likely produce a far more interesting discussion than something modeled on 'Any Questions'.
Offwidth - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Heard by who? Stirring journalists with selective hearing?? I'm sticking with they are insulting to most climbers not just the non-sexist men.
Michael Ryan - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to Offwidth:

Settle down Offwidth. It is Friday afternoon though I suppose.
tlm - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to zachary lesch-huie:
> This may sound crazy to some folks, but I'm proud to describe myself as a male feminist. That's why the question, "How can male climbers be educated about women's issues without crying FEMINIST!!!!", irritates me.


I thought the same! What on earth is wrong with crying Feminist??? Why is feminism seen as a dirty word, when it should be something to be proud of?
Michael Ryan - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to tlm:
> (In reply to zachary lesch-huie)
> [...]
>
>
> I thought the same! What on earth is wrong with crying Feminist??? Why is feminism seen as a dirty word, when it should be something to be proud of?

Now that is an interesting topic.

Tall Clare - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to tlm:
> (In reply to zachary lesch-huie)
> [...]
>
>
> I thought the same! What on earth is wrong with crying Feminist??? Why is feminism seen as a dirty word, when it should be something to be proud of?

we're about to have a debate about this at work. It should be interesting! It's about whether we still 'need' feminism - should provoke some strong responses.



tlm - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to Offwidth:
> Are there barriers, perceived or real, that prevent women from starting climbing? Yes but nothing a determined person won't overcome.

Such as what?

I never met any barriers to me starting climbing - hmmm... apart from, I suppose, that I didn't own a car, lived in the South, and didn't know anyone who climbed! But those are all issues which would apply to anyone, not a woman in particular...

I never met anything but an encouraging attitude from other people, men and women alike...
Michael Ryan - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to Tall Clare:

There is a lot of stigma and imagery attached with the word. Someone told me that in trying to address the balance in male-female dynamics that the more radical feminists went to far with their agenda and this tainted the whole women's movement. Saying that, Grrrlll Power did little good.

The whole issue of who takes primary responsibility for children in some relationships, and by society is fraught with contention .. still.
tlm - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to Tall Clare:
> we're about to have a debate about this at work. It should be interesting! It's about whether we still 'need' feminism - should provoke some strong responses.

When you are part of a society, it can be easy not to notice the was that society is, because you are used to it, and it seems normal...

...but if you take a deliberate look at our society, you will notice just how sexist society as a whole still is...

Look at who takes time off work in order to look after children in their earliest years.

Look at who sits in parliament

Look at who directs films, publishes books, edits newspapers

Look at who sits at the top in local councils, in the police, in hospitals.

Look at who does housework, carers jobs, food shopping

Look at who you see out mountain biking, or who plays in bands, or who plays an instument, or who participates in a sport.

It is changing, slowly and steadily. But it is still a long way from being equal...

Offwidth - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to tlm: Your lucky (and thats a good thing). My partner Lynn has had some hilariously bad incidents including a startled and concerned male stranger offering to take over leading when she arrived at a belay (in about 2000); Mrs Offwidth she can deal with as irony.
Tall Clare - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to tlm:

good stuff, and nothing I'd disagree with at all - I'll send you an invite to the debate if you like.

tlm - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

I always think the problem with feminism is that it is called feminism! Rather than being called genderism...

It is a word which sort of makes the assumption that men had all the good stuff, and women had to fight to be like men... Rather than realising that both sexes were being pushed into roles which may not suit them, and may not suit society...

It isn't about us all being equal - it is about allowing people to choose their own life, and giving equal opportunities to people.
tlm - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to Tall Clare:
> (In reply to tlm)
>
> good stuff, and nothing I'd disagree with at all - I'll send you an invite to the debate if you like.

Thanks! :-) (is it in Hudderfield?!!!)

Oh - and how about who the children end up staying with after a divorce?

How divorce is still seen as meaning big payouts from a man to his ex-wife, and not the other way around.

The pressure on women to stay looking young and sexy....



Michael Ryan - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to tlm:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com)

> It isn't about us all being equal - it is about allowing people to choose their own life, and giving equal opportunities to people.

Agreed.

And forgiving the past.

tlm - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to Offwidth:
> a startled and concerned male stranger offering to take over leading when she arrived at a belay (in about 2000); Mrs Offwidth she can deal with as irony.

Oh - I did get a bloke on Snowdon asking me if I was on my own, when I was clearly with my female friend... I think he meant "Are you on your own?" as meaning were we not with a male guardian?

But I don't see that as any barrier to me - more of a barrier to him (in underestimating women!)

In reply to tlm: look who gets the most maternity/paternity leave - it's geared to sexism.
tlm - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

> And forgiving the past.

I don't think the past has to be forgiven - I don't think it did anything wrong!!!

It was simply a product of its time - a time before reliable contraception, and the high chance of being pregnant if you had sex that existed for women.... I don't think that was anyone in particulars fault, do you?

tlm - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to grumpybearpantsclimbinggoat:
> (In reply to tlm) look who gets the most maternity/paternity leave - it's geared to sexism.

Exactly - there are many ways in which men are almost actively discouraged from being the main carer for their own children. They don't even have any automatic rights in being a father if they aren't married to the mother!!!

Offwidth - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

It's more fun than reading in an MSc thesis about slightly misunderstod applications of Agilent Vee tools for educational purposes in Process Control.

As I think you are a generally a good egg in this respect(women in climbing issues) I realy do think you should reword the questions as they are leading and contain false assumptions. If you wish to question those points as the views of some people, say that.
Mike Hartley - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:
>
> Are there barriers, perceived or real, that prevent women from starting climbing?

Not really...but every person is different. It realy depends on that person, whether they be male or female.
>
> Is climbing sexist?

Not at all...how can an activity be sexist unless you suddenly start calling it 'mens only climbing'. I have met a couple of sexist climbers though...but they're definately in the minority.
>
> Can women ever perform at the level of the top men - in the Alps or on the boulders?

There are physiological differences but that does not mean females can't perform to the same level as the elite males. In fact, I've seen alot of female climbers who outperform their male counterparts because they rely on technique as oppose to watching one too many cliffhanger movies and going all macho on overhangs.
>
> How can male climbers be educated about women's issues without crying FEMINIST!!!!

It's unfair to tar all males with the same brush. The majority are considerate and sensible enough to know aobut 'woman's issues' without the need for a torretts fit of shouting 'FEMINIST!!!!'
>
> Will we ever have a female CEO of the BMC?

I imagine so, when a female becomes interested in the position.
>
> Should a mother climb?

A mother climbing is no different to a father climbing. If risks are that significant as to the future of the child, then neither parent should climb.
>
> In a climbing marriage with kids how come it is the woman who doesn't get to go out climbing?

I think this is an unfair steriotype based upon selective hearing and limited research. I know of no instances, where both parents are climbers, that the mother is left 'holding the baby'.


All said though, it's a very interesting discussion and I look forward to reading the outcomes of it.

Mikey.

tlm - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Oh - I forgot another good indication that our society is still not equal with regards to gender.

When you are next on the motorway, have a look at how many male, and how many female drivers you see - it is amazing - it must be about 99% men!
Michael Ryan - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to Mike Hartley:

You might like to set some questions. Which really is the purpose of this thread.
Mike Hartley - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

None spring immediately to mind, but I'll certainly have a think.
gingerkate - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:
Questions:
Does being pretty get a woman more coverage in the climbing media, and if it does, does that matter or should it be challenged?

If the climbing establishment is sexist, is that the responsibility only of the men, or have women got to shoulder some of the blame?

Why is it (hugely) predominantly men who put in bolts?

Why is it predominantly men who new-route?

Will the increased participation of women in climbing lead to a change in what sorts of ascents have most kudos?


shark - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to gingerkate: Why is it (hugely) predominantly men who put in bolts?

Is it some penetration rape-by-proxy thing ?
ads.ukclimbing.com
gingerkate - on 24 Oct 2008
In reply to Simon Lee:
According to Bruce it is, but I think not.

I think it's more likely to do with permission myself.... women are generally way too tentative to assume they have the right to take some bit of the natural world and just drill drill drill it because they want to.

Either that, or we're simply not so good with power tools ;o)
gingerkate - on 24 Oct 2008
More questions:

Are female-only climbing clubs a relic from a bygone age, or are they still relevant? Do women gain something special from climbing with other women?

Do other countries support their female climbers better than we do in the UK?
dblink on 25 Oct 2008 - spc1-with2-0-0-cust489.bagu.broadband.ntl.com
In reply to tlm:
> (In reply to Tall Clare)
> [...]
>
> ...but if you take a deliberate look at our society, you will notice just how sexist society as a whole still is...
>
> Look at who takes time off work in order to look after children in their earliest years.
>
> Look at who sits in parliament
>
> Look at who directs films, publishes books, edits newspapers
>
> Look at who sits at the top in local councils, in the police, in hospitals.
>
> Look at who does housework, carers jobs, food shopping
>
> Look at who you see out mountain biking, or who plays in bands, or who plays an instument, or who participates in a sport.
>
> It is changing, slowly and steadily. But it is still a long way from being equal...

Sorry for quoting most of the above,........ But...... Hear, Hear!..for some one to bring all this to our attention...and rightly so.
dblink on 25 Oct 2008 - spc1-with2-0-0-cust489.bagu.broadband.ntl.com
In reply to Mike Hartley:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan -
>
> I know of no instances, where both parents are climbers, that the mother is left 'holding the baby'.
>
> Mikey.



I know of at least one instance.
dblink on 25 Oct 2008 - spc1-with2-0-0-cust489.bagu.broadband.ntl.com
In reply to tlm:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com)

> Feminism

> It is a word which sort of makes the assumption that men had all the good stuff, and women had to fight to be like men... Rather than realising that both sexes were being pushed into roles which may not suit them, and may not suit society...
>
> It isn't about us all being equal - it is about allowing people to choose their own life, and giving equal opportunities to people.


I agree with you it is about having equal opportunities for all, but sadly that doesn't take place alot of the time. People should be treated equally, whatever their gender.

And as for women having to fight for their rights...... They did!!!.....in every walk of life. It's in the history books!! In the past some men have long prevented women from doing the things that men did,and that they didn't want women to do,......and they had the power to do it. And a few souls still alive today remember some of it, first hand!

There are some men today that still have that kind of power and use it!

I am speaking in general terms here of course.
dblink on 25 Oct 2008 - spc1-with2-0-0-cust489.bagu.broadband.ntl.com
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com)
>

>
> In a climbing marriage with kids how come it is the woman who doesn't get to go out climbing? Stupid insulting leading question please reword or remove it.

Maybe it is, but it doesn't prevent it being true, that the woman stays home while the husband/male partner pursues his climbing career, in some cases.

Now I'm not saying either that in some instances the roles aren't reversed, and that the man stays at home to look after the children, while his wife/female partner pursues her climbing career.....
Both situations can be seen or construed as sexist, unequal and unfair.

What I'm saying is that perhaps people should more equally share the responsibilities of bringing up a family, then maybe both partners can pursue their climbing careers/chosen activities.



dblink on 25 Oct 2008 - spc1-with2-0-0-cust489.bagu.broadband.ntl.com
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

A Woman's Place?

After not climbing for many years, in order to bring up a family, can a middle aged woman can take up climbing again and climb to a reasonable standard?

What does the panel advise, to enable a woman of this age to do that?
And to do it successfully?

What does the panel think about a woman in her 40's/50's taking up climbing again after many years, or even for the first time in her life?
dblink on 25 Oct 2008 - spc1-with2-0-0-cust489.bagu.broadband.ntl.com
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:
>
>
> On Sunday 23 November at 4.00pm at the Kendal Mountain Festival such questions and many more will be discussed in a round table event, A woman's place? when Lucy Creamer will join Steph Davis, Zoe Hart and Karen Darke in a panel chaired by Louise Thomas to talk with the audience about issues relating to women and climbing. Run along the lines of 'Any Questions?'.
>
> YOU can put your own questions to the panel in advance by posting them on this thread.
>

If we are unable to be at the KMFF for this discussion, will there be access to how the panel replies to our questions on here?

airborne - on 25 Oct 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

We're looking at recording some Festival sessions either on camera on audio, so hopefully you'll be able to follow the debate after the Festival. We just need to sort out permissions by the participants etc.
Mick Ward - on 25 Oct 2008
In reply to dblink:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com)

> After not climbing for many years, in order to bring up a family, can a middle aged woman can take up climbing again and climb to a reasonable standard?

Yes.

> What does the panel advise, to enable a woman of this age to do that?

Climb regularly.


> And to do it successfully?

Train.


> What does the panel think about a woman in her 40's/50's taking up climbing again after many years, or even for the first time in her life?

Why not?

What's with all this 'panel' stuff? You don't need panels to answer such simple questions. And do panels ever do anything worth doing? If so, it's escaped me.

Mick

neilinut on 25 Oct 2008 - a82-92-39-2.adsl.xs4all.nl
In reply to gingerkate:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com)
> Questions:

> Why is it (hugely) predominantly men who put in bolts?
>
> Why is it predominantly men who new-route?
>

One implies t'other as it is the FA that equips a route.

(Maybe women do lots of new routes by mistake because the can't read topos) ;)


gingerkate - on 26 Oct 2008
In reply to neilinut:
What about trad?!

But I didn't post those questions to discuss on this thread .... actually they're in the main topics that have been discussed on UKC in the past ... just as possibles for the panel.


tlm - on 27 Oct 2008
In reply to dblink:
> And as for women having to fight for their rights...... They did!!!.....in every walk of life.

I don't disagree that women should fight for their rights.

However, I don't think that the assumption that it is better to be "masculine" is right - which is what I was trying to say in my previous post.

Because "male" characteristics such as aggression, competitiveness, power, wealth, concentration on a goal etc have been valued in the past, it doesn't mean to say that "female" characteristics, such as empathy, caring, looking at broader goals, what is good for everyone etc shouldn't be valued more highly... which indeed they are being in many areas of life nowadays...
tlm - on 27 Oct 2008
In reply to dblink:
> What I'm saying is that perhaps people should more equally share the responsibilities of bringing up a family, then maybe both partners can pursue their climbing careers/chosen activities.

If climbing and a climbing career is that important to both partners, will they have the time and energy for a family as well? Once children become involved, something has to give somewhere!


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