OAC Women’s Vox Pop Spotlight (March – May, or until we temporarily run out of awesome)

A Happy Women’s History Month Message from your committee.

A belated post to be sure, but only because our very own club committee features women that are:

  • Absolutely killing it in a prominent leadership position (ahem, Megan)
  • Making headway on becoming a trip leader and also being a cool lab scientist (Niamh)
  • Over-committed between volunteering for scouts, SES, OAC, rogaining, and a day job simulating climate disasters (guilty as charged)

A quick rundown on our club leadership makeup (not general members–because there’s 500+ general members I’d have to run the stats on).

In our 2021, of the 34 active trip leaders recognised, 9 were women… but for leaders recognised for running 5 or more outdoor trips that year, 5 out of 6 were women. A disproportionate showing in a year where we otherwise wouldn’t have done much adventuring.

In addition to the above, this is our 30th year as a club, and in that time, I count 9 female presidents, 2 of whom have served since I joined 4 years ago.

It can feel like we’ve arrived here organically, a magical combination of people, place, and time that has allowed so many different humans to feel welcome, but that does our club and volunteers a disservice. We should take credit for what we have done well and make sure we keep doing it. Some things we do that I think helps:

  • Walking our talk – leading by example in terms of how we care for our participants and the environment.
  • Behaving respectfully – interactions between and among leaders and participants is constructive and supportive.
  • Opportunities for education, mentorship, and upskilling – less confident people can grow at their own pace, lots of different kinds of “leadership” (maybe you’re up front, maybe you’re quietly encouraging your slowest participant).
  • Calling out bad behavior – not dismissing people’s comfort levels, toxic masculinity (declaring “she’ll be right” when concerns are raised).
  • Removing bad actors – zero tolerance for abusive and/or predatory behavior.
  • Transparency – keeping everyone on the same page about how and why we do things.
  • Visibility – Members’ contributions are recognised and we spotlight lots of different activities and intensities.
  • Community – fostering interpersonal connections, valuing harmony and camaraderie. 

Having humored my fondness for data and bullet points, I’d like to get sentimental and acknowledge some club women that have made a huge difference to me. However, that would make this post too long, and in line with the above, we should hear lots of different perspectives.

Over the following weeks, we’d like to hear *YOUR* stories. What does it mean to you to be an adventurous womxn, and what role does the club play in that journey? Send a paragraph or two with some photos, either replying to this trip or to ‘safety AT utsoac.org.au’.

We’ll feature you on our facebook and instagram.

–salomé, Safety and Training Officer

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