It’s a tale as old as time – women fighting against the assumption that they are weaker than men, women trying to rise in the ranks in a primarily male-dominated industry. And the battle is making progress, but it isn’t over yet…
Many of us love scuba diving, and since the early 1940’s, it has been a primarily male-dominated sport.
These past few years, however, more women than ever have jumped, rolled, swam and splashed their way into the diving world.
Gone are the days when men rule the ocean. With the growing demographics of women in scuba, an evolution is taking place in the diving industry, leading to new and exciting pathways for females in this discipline. Thanks to many empowering movements, significant changes are happening, and this comes during a time where diversity is needed to craft and shape the future of our sport.
Having been a recreational female scuba diver for over ten years, even I have seen a shift in the involvement and a shift in perception towards women. Check out some of the positive impacts that have taken shape for female scuba divers over the years:
Because of the growing popularity of scuba diving and its female fan base, so too are the number of women role models. There is a whole slew of influential female stars in the spotlight. Take Jill Heinerth one of the top female cave divers in the world or Becky Kagan Schott an Emmy Award-winning underwater cinematographer and photographer for example.
And let’s not forget arguably one of the most celebrated women in diving of all time – the mother of the ocean herself – Sylvia Earle.
Don’t get me wrong as a woman it’s still sometimes a battle to find properly fitting equipment, but compared to several years ago the sizing and choices for women have made so much positive progress!
Take a look at all this colorful equipment geared towards females. It’s fun, it flashy and it’s eye captivating for any young girl hoping to one day take to the sea.
We look forward to seeing what dive products manufacturers will have in store for women in the future!
As with everything else, technology and social media have begun to transform the diving industry over the past decade, giving us new ways to experience the sport and encouraging more girls to give diving a try.
Take Girls that Scuba, for instance, a network of incredible women all over the world coming together to help and support each other in their passion for diving. This group has quickly risen to over 25, 000 members making it the largest female-only dive community in the world.
Girl power is a mantra that takes many different shapes and forms. In the scuba diving industry, this mantra comes to life on a designated Saturday in mid-July when dive shops all over the world celebrate women and diving.
This important day has become a success with ladies all over the world. Since the first Women’s Dive Day back in 2014 there has been a 2.2% increase in females getting a PADI recreational diving certification.
As time pushes on, the amount of women learning to dive is moving forward in leaps and bounds, but there is still much progress to be made. According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) in 2016, 68% of all scuba diving participants remain male, and these numbers pale when looking at professional divers.
If we want our dive industry to continue to grow and thrive, we need to help everybody move past the token representation of women. Perhaps this, in turn, will flow beyond the tidelines of our ocean and may eventually shape the world outside the sport we all know and love.
As a closing thought for all you women who have struggled through trials and tribulations while trying to succeed in the scuba diving world – you are not alone. Don’t get discouraged and don’t give up. We are stronger and more resilient than we think. Everytime you hit the water, feel empowered because you know what – making it in the scuba diving industry was harder for us than men will ever understand.
Where will you be celebrating Women’s International Dive Day this year? Let us know in the comments below!
Thank you to Sarah Richards and the Girls that Scuba group for their ongoing support for women in diving. It’s empowering to see what we can accomplish when we all come together. Photo credit goes out to Girls that Scuba, PADI, Jill Heinerth, and Scuba. Pro
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