Traditionally, mountaineering has been a man’s world. Especially winter mountaineering. When you pair this up with a natural tendency for us to link up with people we already know, or people who are ‘like us’, it’s not difficult to see why we choose instructors who are men. Proportionally, it’s much more likely to be a ‘men pick men’ situation, because more men are mountaineers and vastly more men than women are qualified instructors at the higher levels of qualification in this field.
Today’s article is about some of the female mountaineering instructors who have been recommended to us. We’d like everyone who’s choosing a mountaineering instructor this winter to consider whether they have an unconscious bias to choose a man. We all have bias. If you want to find out more about your own bias, check out the Implicit Attitudes Test, a project which quantifies our bias by guiding us through a short test. It’s one way of identifying biases you don’t even know you have and for us the results have been enlightening. Once we know about our biases, we can decide what we want to do, in a more conscious way.
You can also find an interesting TED talk by Verna Myers on this subject: Verna Myers: How to overcome our biases?
Finding a female guide or instructor
Of course, sometimes it’s simply much easier to choose a man, because at MIC/ BMG level there are more men than women around instructing. You might have to make a little extra effort to find a woman from the lists available online. This is part of the reason for this post – to make it easier for people to choose a woman, if you want to.
When an instructor gets to the level of MIC/ BMG / IFMGA you can be fairly sure that they meet a very high standard of qualification and experience, so the choice becomes a little more about personal choice. Take a look at these experienced, highly qualified instructors for your winter mountaineering instruction and guiding, this winter:
Adele Pennington: Only British woman to have summited Everest twice
Have we missed someone important off this list? If we have, let us know, by emailing us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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