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Topic - Men and Women Climbers

03alittle - on 30 May 2013
This may seem like a pointless and uninteresting post but I know people who regularly view this site, who also helped me with research about 6-7 months ago, who'd be interested in the results I gathered for a third year university project.

Here is the abstract from my project:

This project will look at the reasons behind why males and females choose to climb and attempt to find any differences between the sexes, if there is any at all. Climbing has developed substantially over the past two centuries and has resulted in the activity gradually being perceived differently than it once was by an ever changing society, consequently leading to people climbing for different reasons to their predecessors. It is argued that there should be no difference between why men and women choose to climb as both sexes have the same evolutionary heritage which involves an innate desire to affiliate with the outdoor environment. Active members of both sexes from the climbing community were asked to complete a survey online which allowed for a quick response rate from a wide selection of enthusiastic climbers who would display current trends and opinions from an active, modern climbing scene. The results of the questionnaire showed that there is no difference between why males and females choose to climb and that women can be perceived to be as selfish and obsessed with climbing as men, as over 80% of climbers sampled are choosing to climb because of the freedom and challenge of the sport. This demonstrates a shift in the climbing community from the previous masculine scene where women were chastised for partaking in the activity to a more equal community where the barriers of prejudice can be broken down and males and females can both enjoy, and benefit from, participation in climbing. It also implies that any prejudice and ridicule surrounding why males and females climb is as a result of western society and culture which assumes that men and women should act in certain ways that are deemed acceptable and is not because of biological differences between the sexes.


I understand that this may seem pointless and obvious to some but my research into why men and women choose to climb showed that both genders climb for the same reasons: firstly, the freedom of the sport; secondly the problem solving of routes; and thirdly because of nature.

This suggested that the perception of any differences between male and female climbers are because of stereotypes and cultural and societal structures i.e. women and men should act in certain ways that are deemed acceptable. Also, each person, it is thought, has a desire to affiliate with nature and reconnect with our evolutionary heritage thus meaning there shouldn't be a difference, and there isn't.

I didn't differentiate between the climbing 'games' as such so I can't say that this is the case for sport climbers and traditional climbers and ice climbers etc. but the general act of climbing is done by both genders for the same reasons.

Therefore, I would like to thank all those who did participate with my data collection as it helped a lot and I can't express how grateful I am for it. It was a fascinating study to conduct and it gave me a better insight into the reasons why we climb.

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