Climbing Mount Everest: Women, Career and Family in Outdoor Education

By Allin, Linda | Australian Journal of Outdoor Education, July 2004 | Go to article overview

Climbing Mount Everest: Women, Career and Family in Outdoor Education


Allin, Linda, Australian Journal of Outdoor Education


Abstract

For women outdoor educators, combining an outdoor career with family relationships appears contradictory. Long and/or irregular hours, residentials, and increasing work commitments are, for example, congruent with traditional notions of a career in the outdoors yet they clash with social constructions of women's primary identities as partners, wives and/or mothers. In this paper, I explore how 21 women outdoor educators constructed connections and disconnections between career and family. In doing so, I uncover how they negotiated their career identities and show how contradictions between work and home were exacerbated due to the centrality of the body to their outdoor education careers.

Introduction

The aim of this paper is to explore women's stories of combining career and family in outdoor education in the UK. The focus on women in this paper is based on my own position as a woman who has worked in outdoor education and my desire to understand more about women's career experiences. For women, decisions regarding career and family involve managing seemingly contradictory roles. Hargreaves (1994) explains how Victorian familism positioned women in terms of there roles at home and their family relationships, as wives, mothers or housekeepers. In contrast, Mavin (2001) reviews how models of careers were based on the working lives of men, with traditional career processes rewarding with promotion those who can devote time and energy to their work. While a greater number of professional women than ever before are following careers and continuing their careers after motherhood, UK statistics also show that mothers continue to do a disproportionate share of parenting and the majority of domestic chores (UK 2000 Time Use Survey, 2003). Hence, combining career and family after motherhood remains particularly problematic. The ways women have actively managed work and home have been identified in traditional career areas, including management (Marshall, 1995), science and engineering (Evetts, 1994a, 1996) and higher education (Ledwith & Manfedi, 2000). However, there is a more limited understanding of how women combine career and family whilst working in the less traditional occupational area of the outdoors.

Women who work in outdoor education face a number of potential issues that impact on their career decisions. Firstly, the outdoor industry is an occupational area where many jobs involve long, irregular hours and/or residential work, taking time away from the family. Despite their increased involvement in outdoor recreation, women remain under-represented in the higher levels of outdoor management and leadership (Humberstone, 1994; Sharpe, 1996). Difficulties for women in combining an outdoor career with family are likely to contribute to this. Several authors, in the UK and abroad, have further noted that the outdoor industry is a male-gendered space, based on its association with physical and technical competence (Allin, 2000; Humberstone, 1994; Loeffler, 1995; Lugg, 2003). This is particularly so in the UK context, where outdoor pursuits such as climbing, canoeing or hill-walking dominate in outdoor programmes. Those who work in outdoor education can also face ongoing pressure to maintain, develop or update their activity leadership qualifications. This need for outdoor organisations to ensure instructors have up-to-date qualifications is particularly acute in the UK where the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority (AALA) acts as a regulating body and where there is a heightened emphasis on health and safety. Combining outdoor career and family in this context therefore often involves women negotiating not only work and home life, but also their engagement with outdoor pursuit activities. This can include logging up activity hours or coaching update courses as prerequisites for qualifications, as well as involvement in outdoor activities for personal recreation.

In this paper, I attempt to grasp some understanding of women outdoor educators' careers and how they have managed the issue of career and family.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Climbing Mount Everest: Women, Career and Family in Outdoor Education
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.