Women, Leisure and gender stereotyping
After thirty years as a practicing leisure professional it became pretty clear to me that many women did not enjoy the same access to leisure as men.
There are several reasons for this and they are a product of gender stereotyping that still influences our society today.
Women have been considered the "carers" and that has influenced behaviour where women often put others needs ahead of their own. Typically this is partner, child, friend or more recently elderly parents. So for the women the opportunity to exercise generally comes after everyone else it looked after.
Issues around body image and discomfort at gyms also creates restrictions for some women in exercise.
Finally and for me, most outrageously, many women simply can't exercise when they want for fear of their physical safety particularly if their only time to run for example is after dark. Or walking from a facility to a poorly lit car park.
During my years taking mainly women on horse treks in the East Kimberley, I listened to their stories about how they did not have the same leisure choices as the men they knew. Or the many women who felt guilty about coming away on their own.
I would like to refine my work in this area and so for the last six months I have been researching the issues around leisure and gender inequality and recently spoke at a women's breakfast on the topic.
If you have any insights I would really appreciate them.
Woman and Leisure
Women's leisure choices are to this day still somewhat influenced by gender stereotyping. Women who see themselves as or perceived by others as the "care giver" often put their needs last. This creates limited opportunities to participate in leisure that can deliver self-esteem. Many leisure choices for women carry with them real and perceived risk over physical safety - such as running after or before work in the dark or traveling solo.
This program seeks to help women understand how gender stereotyping robs them of quality leisure experiences. It provides the knowledge and skills for women t to take charge of their leisure.