Women on a mission
We at fourth element are lucky to be based in Cornwall, UK, with great diving spots and not totally freezing waters, so this weekend we celebrated Padi Women’s Dive Day with a dip in the ocean (socially distant, of course!). It was a great opportunity to re-ignite the dive fuel and it’s got us talking about why women get into diving, what holds us back and what we can do to support and encourage more women to discover a love for the ocean.
Anyone who isn’t a diver is missing out on the magic that is scuba diving – that amazing experience of being weightless and to be up close and personal to our beautiful blue planet and all the wonders she possesses. The more people we can get diving, the more ocean advocates we will create to help protect the oceans. But why more women specifically?
There has certainly been an increase in the number of women getting into diving, but as of 2018, women still only made up 38% of the PADI certifications, so there is still more work to be done*. The more women who are involved at a grass roots level means that in the future, we will have more females leading the way in the industry, being positive role models and equalling out the gender gap.
Like many industries, there has been sexualisation in diving, but times are changing and a lot of important work has been done by the #metoo movement to bring awareness to the issue. Online groups like Girls That Scuba have provided a safe haven online, where women are able to ask other women about all things diving related – and it’s incredibly positive to see how kind, respectful and encouraging these women are towards each other.
This strong online presence has helped to change how female divers are represented and in line with this, manufacturers are stepping up their game by making equipment specific to women divers – and moving away from the stereotypical pink. There’s nothing wrong with pink, but we like to have the choice!
Women can bring a lot of empathy, encouragement, but also fun to scuba diving. We know many females who are extremely skilled, knowledgeable and passionate divers – there is absolutely no reason for women not to enjoy diving AND excel at it.
What’s for certain is that once people are given the opportunity, they catch the bug instantly. For PADI Women’s Dive Day, our in-house instructor Rannva took a handful of never-before-divers (including a 14 year old) out for their first experience and every single one emerged to the tune of “I want to do that again!” and “How do I get qualified?!” It’s music to our ears and evidence that if you have friends or family that have a slight interest, just get them along to a try dive and they will most likely be hooked. Instant new buddies!