by Teresa Baker
Originally published: June 29, 2017
Every time I see a marketing ad by an outdoor retailer or an outdoor publication, I get more agitated. Not every outdoor enthusiast is an extreme athlete, white, and male, yet that’s nearly always the image displayed as the model for outdoor enthusiasts.
It is extremely frustrating to hear over and over again that outdoor retailers and publications understand my concerns about diversifying that image yet find that they do nothing. It’s one thing to hear me, but it’s another to effect change. We need outdoor retailers and publications to instigate a new normal.
At the recent Women’s Outdoor Summit for Empowerment, more than 100 amazing women convened at the Presidio of San Francisco to discuss issues like lack of inclusion, sexual harassment, and workplace biases. “It was the most diverse outdoor event I’ve been to in the industry,” says Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario. “It’s important to keep coming together in new ways and making our outdoor communities stronger.” Attendees ranged from extreme outdoor enthusiasts to weekend outdoor warriors. They’re mothers, CEOs, government agency employees, grassroots organizers, and more. We all asked the same questions: How do we change this? How do we change a culture of exclusion that hasn’t been called to task in a way that has motivated people to act?