This Handbook serves as a starting point for critical analysis and discourse about the status of women in outdoor learning environments (OLEs). Women choose to participate actively in outdoors careers, many believing the profession is a level playing field and that it offers alternatives to traditional sporting activities. They enter outdoor learning primarily on the strength of their enthusiasm for leading and teaching in natural environments and assume the field is inclusive, rewarding excellence regardless of age, gender, socioeconomic status, disability, or ethnicity. However, both research and collective experiences in OLEs suggest that many women feel invisible, relegated, marginalized, and undervalued.
In response to this marginalization, this Handbook celebrates the richness of knowledge and practices of women practitioners in OLEs. Women scholars and practitioners from numerous fields, such as experiential outdoor education, adventure education, adventure therapy, and gender studies, explore the implications of their research and practice using poignant examples within their own disciplines. These insights emerge from similar life experiences as women and outdoor leaders in the 1970s to the present. Social inequalities still abound in OLEs, and the Handbook ensures that the contributions of women are highlighted as well as the work that needs to be done to make these spaces inclusive.
Global in perspective and capacious in content, this one-stop volume is an indispensable reference resource for a diverse range of academics, including students and researchers in the fields of education, psychology, sociology, gender studies, geography, and environment studies, as well as the many outdoors fields.
About the Author
Tonia Gray is Senior Researcher at Western Sydney University's Centre for Educational Research, Australia. She has been involved in outdoor education for over 30 years as a researcher, practitioner and curriculum developer, and in 2014 received the prestigious Australian Award for Excellence in University Teaching.
Denise Mitten is Graduate Chair of Adventure Education at Prescott College, USA, and is internationally recognized for her scholarship in outdoor and environmental pedagogy, and ethics and leadership.
Table of Contents
SECTION I. Setting the Scene.- Chapter 1. Nourishing Terrains: Women’s Contributions to Outdoor Learning Environments; Tonia Gray and Denise Mitten.- Chapter 2. Let’s Meet at the Picnic Table at Midnight; Denise Mitten.- Chapter 3.Thirty Years On, and has the Gendered Landscape Changed in Outdoor Learning?; Tonia Gray.- Chapter 4. Outdoor Education: Threaded Pathways to Belonging; Sandy Allen Craig and Cathryn Carpenter.- Chapter 5. Elder Women Speak of Outdoor Learning and Experience; Genevieve Blades.- Chapter 6. Women’s Voices in the Outdoors; Jo Straker.- Chapter 7. Women and Leadership: Commitments to Nurturing, More-Than-Human Worlds, and Fun; Denise Mitten.- Chapter 8. Tourist and Sport Reform Dress, Friluftsliv, and Women’s Right to Vote: Norway 1880s-1913; Kirsti Pederson Gurholt.- Chapter 9. Building Relationship On and With Mother Mountain: Women Incorporating Indigenous Knowledge Into Outdoor Learning; Lynne Hoya Thomas, Nicole Taylor and Tonia Gray.- Chapter 10. Following the Currents of Mighty Women Past and Present; Anita Pryor.- Chapter 11. “Nature Study” as a Subject in the School Curriculum: A Female Voice From the Early Days; Rhona Miller.- SECTION II. Contested Spaces: Gender Disparity in Outdoor Learning Environments.- Chapter 12. Nourishing terrains? Troubling terrains? Women’s Outdoor Work in Aotearoa New Zealand; Martha Bell, Marg Cosgriff, Pip Lynch and Robyn Zink.- Chapter 13. Ongoing Challenges for Women as Outdoor Leaders; Deb Jordan.- Chapter 14. Alice Through the Looking-Glass: An Autoethnographic Account of Women’s Leadership in Outdoor Education in the UK; Kaz Stuart.- Chapter 15. Challenges Faced by Women Outdoor Leaders; Karen Warren, Shelly Risinger, TA Loeffler.- Chapter 16. Telling My Story: Being Female in Outdoor Education in Higher Education; Beth Christie.- Chapter 17. The Intangible Assets of Women as Leaders in Bush Adventure Therapy; Fiona Cameron.- Chapter 18. Messages about women through representation in adventure education texts and journals; Chapter 19. Locations of Resistance and Agency: The Actionable Space of Indian Women’s Connection to the Outdoors; Vinathe Sharma-Bryner.- Chapter 20. Becoming Relational in Outdoor Education: Not Just Women’s Work; Alison Lugg.- Chapter 21. Becoming Relational in Outdoor Education: Not Just Women’s Work; Marna Hauk.- Chapter 22. Justice for All: Women in Outdoor Education; Sarah Dubreil Karpa.- SECTION III. Motherhood and outdoor learning environments: chaos and complexity.- Chapter 23. Conversations With My Children: The Outdoors as a Site of Disaster and Triumph; Jackie Kiewa.- Chapter 24. Mirrored Tensions: A Mother-Daughter Introspection on Gendered Experiences in Outdoor Recreation; Jan Oakley.- Chapter 25. The Rebuilding of an Outdoor Identity.- Chapter 26. Heroine’s Journey: Navigating grief in the Outdoors to Emerge as a Bush Adventure Therapy Leader; Abby Buckley.- Chapter 27. Wild Abandon; Ruthie Rohde.- SECTION IV. Leadership, learning, and transformations.- Chapter 28. Becoming a Woodswoman; Christy Smith and Denise Mitten.- Chapter 29. The Backcountry of the Female Mind: Young Women’s Voices From the Wilderness; Sara Boilen.- Chapter 30. Outdoor Education Entanglements: A Crone’s Epiphany?; Noel Cox Caniglia.- Chapter 31. Eyes Wide Shut: A History of Blindness Towards the Feminine in Outdoor Education in Australia; Carol Birrell.- Chapter 32. Three Women’s Co-Autoethnography of Life-long Adventures in Nature; Di Collins, Heather Brown and Barbara Humberstone.- Chapter 33. Women, Physicality and the Outdoors: A Story of Strength and Fragility in a Kayaking Identity; Linda Allin.- Chapter 34. Once a Guide, Always a Guide: A Way of Being; Carroll Graham and Ruth Lusty.- Chapter 35. LGBTQ Girl Scouts Reflect on Their Outdoor Experiences; Stefanie Argus.- Chapter 36. Adventures Beyond Cookies: A Girl Scout Journey Into Crumbling Cookie Stereotypes; Priscilla McKenney.- Chapter 37. Reflections of an Educator on the Impact of the Outdoors on Body Positivity; Joelle Breault-Hood.- Chapter 38. Re(turning)to the Sacred Trails: (Re)storying Connections to More-Than-Human Worlds in Outdoor Education; Kathryn Riley.- Chapter 39. The Soloists Journey as a Window to Wisdom; Bridget Jackson.- SECTION V. Case Studies of Women in Action.- Chapter 40. Women’s Leadership of Family Nature Clubs: Furthering the Movement to Reconnect People with Nature; Chiara D'Amore.- Chapter 41. Singing in the Forest: Outdoor Education as Early Childhood Curriculum; Kumara Ward.- Chapter 42. Loose Parts Play: Creating Opportunities for Outdoor Education and Sustainability in Early Childhood; Jackie Neill.- Chapter 43. Outdoor Learning in Primary Schools - Predominately Female Ground; Amanda Lloyd.- Chapter 44. From the Classroom to the Cow: What We Have Learnt About Learning Through School-Farm Co-operation in Norway; Linda Jolly and Sidsel S. Sandberg.- Chapter 45. Changing Girls’ Lives: One Program at a Time; Anja Whittington.- Chapter 46. Empowering Girls and Women through Experiential Education: A Peace Corps Volunteer’s Story; Susie Barr-Wilson.- Chapter 47. Turning Inside Out: Learning Through Local Phenomena and Lived Experience; Clarice Lisle.- Chapter 48. OOSH Artists Explore Eco-Art for Ecopedagogical Outcomes; Samantha Crosby.- Chapter 49. Udeskole in Denmark: A Narrative of Mutual Support and Sharing; Chapter 50. Bringing the Inside Out and the Outside In: Place-Based Learning Rendering Classroom Walls Invisible; Katherine Bates.- Chapter 51. Space to Create: Learning with Nature in an Arts and Cultural Context Through a Woman's Lens; Mary Preece.- Chapter 52. Insights from a Canadian Woman: Place-Based Relationships and Narratives in Outdoor Education; Liz Peredun.- Chapter 53. Learning from Tragedy: The Legacies of Laura and Alice; Claire Dallat.- SECTION VI. Towards an inclusive and nourishing future for women in outdoor learning environments.- Chapter 54. Writing Gendered Embodiment into Outdoor Learning Environments: Journalling for Critical Consciousness; Jen Wigglesworth.- Chapter 55. Blazing a Trail…Together: The Need for Mentoring and Collaboration Amongst Women in Outdoor Leadership; Mary Ellen Avery, Christine Norton, Anita Tucker.- Chapter 56. Voices of Colour: Dreaming of an Inclusive Outdoor Leadership Environment; Tanya Rao and Nina Roberts.- Chapter 57. A Pākehā Woman’s Journey Towards Bicultural Responsibility In Outdoor Education; Maureen Legge.- Chapter 58. Seeking a way beyond gender: A case from a personal story; Takano Takako.- Chapter 59. True Nature: Coming Home to Self Through Nature and Adventure Experience.- Chapter 60. Leading from the Heart of Nature.- Chapter 61. Travel Play Live: Inspiring Adventurous Women Towards an Inclusive Future in Outdoor Learning Environments. Chapter 62. Pathways Forward to a More Inclusive Future Whilst Honouring the Past; Denise Mitten and Tonia Gray.
What People are Saying About This
“As a male in a profession perfused with male hegemony, this book has opened my eyes to the many profound – yet often unnoticed – thoughts, feelings and contributions of female colleagues. It is a waymark along the path towards further maturation that all involved in our profession will continue to journey.” (John Quay, Associate Professor in Education, University of Melbourne, Australia)
“This important book is a first class and comprehensive volume for students and scholars to explore the narratives of power, oppression and equality associated with women outdoors. This book will help university students and the outdoor profession to re-story its future so that a heightened sense of gender awareness and the cultural shift needed can be woven into the fabric of the outdoor profession. At last it has been written! Thank you.” (Mark Leather, Senior Lecturer in Outdoor Adventure Education, Plymouth Marjon University, UK)
“Unconscious bias in a male constructed field like the outdoors needs constant attention as both men and women are affected by it. I have been part of teams and committees that worked hard to achieve ‘balance’ only for it to slip away once it was achieved. The bias, present in both men and also, surprisingly to me, women, does not go way. It needs our constant effort. This book is a major contribution to just that.” (Chris Loynes, Reader in Outdoor Studies, University of Cumbria, UK)
“This book has challenged my good intentions around and helped to expose my misconceptions of gender issues in the outdoors. It has moved me closer toward a much-needed understanding of the issues and challenges women face. It’s an absolute must read for those who wish to better understand the gender bias that favours men in outdoor education.” (Tom G. Potter, Associate Professor, Lakehead University, Canada)
“Gray and Mitten’s edited book provides perspectives about women in the outdoors. It emphasizes the ongoing need to hear women’s voices and normalize their contributions. Although inroads have been made and the playing field often is perceived as level, the ongoing need is to celebrate and challenge gender equality and equity in the outdoors.” (Karla A. Henderson, Professor Emeritus of Leisure Behavior, Gender & Diversity, and Organized Camping, North Carolina State University, USA)
“That this book needed to be published is an indictment of the outdoor education sector; that it has been published is a triumph. The International Handbook of Women and Outdoor Learning should be required reading for all outdoor educators.” (Simon Beames, Senior Lecturer in Outdoor Learning, The University of Edinburgh, UK)
“I commend Tonia and Denise for bringing to us this exceptional handbook that connects and inspires generations of women in the outdoors. This is a timely book, twenty years after Karen Warren's 1996 book Women's Voices in Experiential Education, to rekindle a conversation that was almost forgotten.” (Susanna Ho, Assistant Director for Outdoor Education and Safety, Ministry of Education, Singapor)