International Womenâ€™s Day 2018
- Thursday 8th March 2018
March 8th; 2018
Today is International Women’s Day. It’s an especially poignant anniversary given it was one hundred years ago that women in Britain were given the right to vote.
Women – rightly – are active in every aspect of our society yet they still have to stand-up against sexism and homophobia; something which they continue to do in celebration of the suffragette movement started by Emmeline Pankhurst over a century ago. In addition, women frequent defend all kinds of injustices; pushing back against repressive attitudes and boundaries alike.
Women continue their drive across all aspects of the outdoor and climbing world as well. Amongst their ranks are women who are a trailblazers, mentors and instructors. We share a brief selection of these below in celebration of IWD 2018…
Mina Leslie-Wujastyk on Mecca Extension. Photyo Jon Clark
Angela Eiter, Margo Hayes and Anak Verhoeven as well as our own Shauan Coxsey, Mina Leslie-Wujastyk, Hazel Findlay, Emma Twyford and others were all in the news last year pushing back the boundaries of what is possible in the upper reaches of female climbing performance. Early in the year Margo Hayes became the first every women to redpoint F9a+ doing firstly La Rambla and then Biographie (click here for Biographie report). Angela Eiter however extended that envelope by redpointed La Plata de Shiva in October 2017. At F9b it’s the hardest ever send by a female climber putting her amongst the highest ranks of all-time climbing achievements (Click here for our report on her ascent).
As an super active climber and former BMC Vice President Mina Leslie-Wujastyk is in a great position to see the development in women’s climbing: “When I started climbing as a young girl I was in a very obvious minority and fitting in with the crowd (especially the very keen climbers) was synonymous with “being one of the guys”. It’s so refreshing now to have so many strong inspiring women to climb and enjoy the outdoors with. Not only that but we now see so many young girls entering the sport and not being the anomaly. Happy International Women’s Day!”
Innes Papert on Riders On The Storm. Photo Thomas Senf
Early in 2016 Innes Papert and Mayan Smith-Gobat repeated Rides on The Storm in Patagonia. That too was a world-class ascent demonstrating that all-female teams can be a force to be reckoned with in the harshest of mountaineering environments. Click here for that report.
Jen Randall has been punching through the traditionally male-dominated world of film making for some time now. Last year, Jen picked-up Best Climbing Film award at Banff with the biopic Psycho Vertical; a captivating look into the complex world of Andy Kirkpatrick and his climbing. Project Mina, one of Jen’s earlier films, was an in-depth study of Mina Leslie-Wujastyk made has she was breaking into the higher echelons of rock climbing. Jen’s first film Push It followed a group of female climbers, Jen included, on their attempt to climb El Cap. Click through here to see more of Jen’s work.
Climber by Hazel Barnard
On the publishing front Waymaking, an anthology of prose, poetry and artwork from fifty women inspired by nature and the outdoors, will be published by Vertebrate Publishing later this year. Waymaking is a celebration of Gwen Moffat’s Space Beneath my Feet and Nan Shepherd’s The Living Mountain, which set a precedent for women writing about wilderness. It will include contributions by Alpinist Editor Katie Ives, award-winning author Bernadette McDonald, adventurers Anna McNuff and Hazel Findlay and many more and is being edited by Claire Carter, Helen Mort, Heather Dawe and Camilla Barnard.
Katherine Schirrmacher is a well-known climber/coach on the UK scene. Operating in another area traditionally dominated by males, Katherine has been a key contributor recently to the development of modules for climbing coach qualifications. She’s noted a real step-changing in women’s climbing recently. We caught up with her just as she was about to see a client but she summed up her experience which echod Mina's comments perfectly about the increase and empowerment of women's climbing; “I’ve seen a real growth in women’s participation and performance in climbing over the last five years; it’s great to see women having the confidence to take full control of their climbing”. Click here for Katherine’s website.
Finally, La Sportiva have recently released a short film about an all-female trip with Margo Hayes, Paige Claassen and Emily Harrington – the so-called ‘Sladies’ - to the Spanish island of Mallorca.