Breaking Trail: women-powered initiatives
Mum after returning from Canada 1980.

Mum after returning from Canada 1980.

Back in November I signed up for my second Ignite Talk and I wanted to use my precious 5 minutes to try and inspire more girls to seek out adventure.  

When I began planning, I gathered all sorts of powerful research that highlights why time spent outside is so important for young people and adults and evidence that shows worrying trends with young people spending less time outside than prison inmates.  In particular participation in physical activity among girls drops considerably when they reach around 14 years old, just at the time when many young people feel the most insecure and could do with building resilience, confidence and empowerment. All characteristics that time spent outdoors helps to nurture.

However, after running through my presentation a few times, it all started to sound a bit preachy. Not a good start. 

So, I scrapped my entire presentation and decided that perhaps to inspire more mums and dads, teachers, guardians, sisters, brothers and friends to seek out adventure, a few inspiring stories would be a better jumping off point.

There are so many incredible women and girls out there, seeking out adventure in all its forms and in 5 minutes I wanted to share just a few that have helped to shape my life outdoors.  That meant just 15 seconds for each profile!  From this concept, Girls Discover was born. A campaign aimed at bringing together inspiring stories that could be used to help encourage more girls to get outside.

Since then Girls Discover has changed, Instagram didn't work out and I am now focused on collecting and sharing content on Twitter and Facebook that might be used by adults to inspire teenage girls.  I can see from my analytics that people are following the links that I share, but it is still not quite meeting my aims, so another review is needed.

A number of other new initiatives have also been launched in the last few months.  They all have one thing in common, they champion women in adventure and seek to inspire through positive action, providing platforms for stories, learning and reviews. 

The first issue of Intrepid Magazine was launched in January, sharing a diverse and exciting collection of women-powered adventures. It is available for pre-order both in print and online every month, in fact, you only have a few days left to sign up for issue 2!  The magazine doesn't just focus on the big-hitters either, with articles on accessible adventures, and advice features with genuinely handy hints and tips for women who want to get outside more.

Calliopes Magpies is also brand new for 2018.  It is an online journal that aims to collect and showcase women's outdoor writing, images and events.  High-profile interviews feature alongside trip reports and event reviews and their open call for content encourages all adventurous women with a story to tell to get involved and celebrate inclusive, varied and creative journeys in the outdoors.

From my own experiences I have felt that being an outdoor photographer can be quite a lonely place, especially if you are just starting out.  It feels like there are very few women image-makers in the industry.  However, if the amazing rise of women's adventure films is anything to go by then I am sure there are lots of women out there creating outdoor stills too, we just don't know each other.  Often these industries can feel a mystery if you do not know people willing to share advice and experiences and that is where the Women in Outdoor Media Group comes in.  This group hopes to build a community of women image-makers, film-makers, writers and other creatives to share advice, opportunities and feedback.  The group eventually aims to act as a database, bringing the community together to promote the work of Women in Outdoor Media as a more powerful collective.

Awesome Alphabetical List of Women's Resources:

Adventure Expo:

BMC Women in Adventure Film Competition:

Calliopes Magpies:

Girls Discover:



Mountain Training:


Outdoor Media:


This Girl Can:

Tough Girl Podcasts:

Trad Festival:

Women in Adventure: