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Women's lives in the outdoors: A biographical study

Women's lives in the outdoors: A biographical study
Women's lives in the outdoors: A biographical study

Although increasing numbers of women are becoming involved in outdoor adventure, this environment is generally seen as a male domain where women continue to be in the minority. Decisions made by women to participate in adventurous activities take place within a system of opportunities and constraints many of which arise out of gender role socialisation. This research examines the meanings of long-term participation in outdoor adventure of women working in education. A biographical method was employed to explore narratives generated through life story interviews that related to the nature, origins and impact of the women's adventure participation. Key themes focused on the creation of opportunities for the pursuit of adventure, initial and ongoing socialisation into adventure, the perceived worth of participation and the significance of gender.

The findings revealed that the women defined their identities largely in terms of their adventure participation. They assigned a high priority to their engagement in adventure activities and resisted stereotypical gender roles in order to fulfil their own leisure needs. Childhood experiences of play and physical activity, in addition to the positive influence of significant others in the form of parents and coaches, were identified as important for subsequent adventure involvement. A key factor in the women's continuing involvement was a partner with at least a similar level of commitment to the outdoors. When describing their experiences in the outdoors the women reported unusually high levels of fear, and placed particular value on shared experiences which often overshadowed aspects such as physical challenge. Whilst gender had occasionally functioned to subtly undermine the women's confidence, generally they appeared to have internalised 'masculine' values and gained credibility within a male dominated adventure environment.

University of Southampton
Boniface, Margaret Ruth
Boniface, Margaret Ruth

Boniface, Margaret Ruth (2001) Women's lives in the outdoors: A biographical study. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Although increasing numbers of women are becoming involved in outdoor adventure, this environment is generally seen as a male domain where women continue to be in the minority. Decisions made by women to participate in adventurous activities take place within a system of opportunities and constraints many of which arise out of gender role socialisation. This research examines the meanings of long-term participation in outdoor adventure of women working in education. A biographical method was employed to explore narratives generated through life story interviews that related to the nature, origins and impact of the women's adventure participation. Key themes focused on the creation of opportunities for the pursuit of adventure, initial and ongoing socialisation into adventure, the perceived worth of participation and the significance of gender.

The findings revealed that the women defined their identities largely in terms of their adventure participation. They assigned a high priority to their engagement in adventure activities and resisted stereotypical gender roles in order to fulfil their own leisure needs. Childhood experiences of play and physical activity, in addition to the positive influence of significant others in the form of parents and coaches, were identified as important for subsequent adventure involvement. A key factor in the women's continuing involvement was a partner with at least a similar level of commitment to the outdoors. When describing their experiences in the outdoors the women reported unusually high levels of fear, and placed particular value on shared experiences which often overshadowed aspects such as physical challenge. Whilst gender had occasionally functioned to subtly undermine the women's confidence, generally they appeared to have internalised 'masculine' values and gained credibility within a male dominated adventure environment.

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Published date: 2001

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Local EPrints ID: 464546
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/464546
PURE UUID: 3b19a472-55a3-4979-a29a-541121c7a8b7

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Date deposited: 04 Jul 2022 23:45
Last modified: 05 Jul 2022 02:14

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Contributors

Author: Margaret Ruth Boniface

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