International Women's Day | #BalanceforBetter | Celebrating 8 Incredible Women in the Outdoors
A balanced world is a better world.
On International Women’s Day (and on every day here at She Went Wild!), we contribute to a more gender-balanced world by celebrating all that women have achieved in the great outdoors.
We’re raising our KeepCups to the female athletes and adventurers below!
LUCY BARNARD | an Aussie walking the length of the Earth
Lucy is currently two years into her self-supported quest to walk the length of the Earth. She begun on 19th February 2017 and it’s estimated to take three to four years to complete.
That’s 30,000 kilometres from the southernmost point of South America to the highest point of Alaska on foot and swimming or kayaking for ocean crossings.
So…the big question is why?! In Lucy’s own words: “I have nothing profound to say here. I started this project for the experience and to see how far I could get. I wanted to live adventurously, to travel, and to have a story to tell. I share these stories to encourage anyone who has an ambitious goal to strive for it, even in the face of failure; and to influence how women will be revered by our children.”
Well, we think that’s a damn good reason!
Instagram | @tanglesandtail
Website | www.tanglesandtail.com
AMBREEN TARIQ | storyteller and founder of @brownpeoplecamping
One of our favourite Instagram accounts is @brownpeoplecamping, created by Ambreen, a Muslim South-Asian American immigrant woman. Ambreen launched her initiative in August 2016 to both celebrate the US National Park Service’s centennial and to contribute to diversifying public lands after noticing, for years, the ‘whiteness’ of the outdoor community.
Today, Ambreen’s Instagram account is a mix of her personal, authentic narratives and as well as sharing the stories of other women of different ethnicities. The imagery is not only beautiful but the messaging is also insightful and thought-provoking and always shining a light on respect and acceptance in the outdoors.
Since its launch, Ambreen and @brownpeoplecamping have worked with government agencies, non-profit organisations as well as private companies to promote diversity in the outdoors - for example, simply by ensuring more representation in media and campaigns. This movement is not new and we are loving seeing it gain momentum as the months tick on.
Instagram | @brownpeoplecamping
Website | www.brownpeoplecamping.com
MAUREEN BECK | a one-handed paraclimbing champion
Maureen was born with one hand and her website tagline is, “I don’t have a disability. I have a different ability”.
And by ‘different’, she surely means ‘world-class’ as Maureen is National Geographic’s 2019 Adventurer of the Year.
Maureen was the first American woman to win the International Federation of Sport Climbing Paraclimbing World Championship. That was in 2014 and since then, she has defended her World Champion title in 2016 as well as won six National Titles. Last we read, Maureen’s climbing 5.12a with 5.15 being the hardest grade.
She’s also dedicated to giving back to the community; Maureen holds workshops teaching climbing gyms to accommodate disabled climbers.
Her ‘why’? To push boundaries and find limits for adaptive athletes in the outdoors. We’ll definitely be keeping an eye on what limits Maureen surpasses this year.
Instagram | @mo.in.mountains
Website | www.moinmountains.com
HANIFA YOUSOUFI | the first Afghan woman to scale Mount Noshaq, Afghanistan’s highest peak
Afghanistan’s tallest peak is Mount Noshaq and prior to 2009, the peak had been closed for 30 years due to the war-torn region being deemed too dangerous. Unrest is still a factor of daily life there as is gender inequality; women are still barred from outdoor activities.
On 10th August 2018, Hanifa became the first Afghan woman to to stand atop the 24,580-foot mountain.
She had summited with her team from a non-profit organisation named Ascend Athletics whose mission is to empower women through a two-year training and leadership skills program, that starts with basic rock climbing and develops through backcountry trekking and climbing expeditions. Hanifa had joined the organisation after divorcing from her husband, who she had married at 15-years old.
In Hanifa’s own words, “I did this for every single girl. The girls of Afghanistan are strong and will continue to be strong.”
LINDSEY COLE | British adventurer with a long, unique list of experiences!
Where do we even start? Lindsey’s list of outdoor feats are loooong and include walking the Rabbit Proof Fence, multiple Ironmans, hiking the length of the UK from Lands End to John O’Groats and most recently, swimming the length of the River Thames in a mermaid costume, made from plastic bottles and wrappers, to raise awareness of plastic pollution.
When asked her motive for the swim, Lindsey told a story of how when she was freediving in Bali, she thought her hand had been stung by a jellyfish but it had actually been cut by a small clear piece of plastic.
Not all of Lindsey’s unique adventures are directly for a cause but by sharing her stories, she is sparking curiosity and courage in people and we find immense value in that.
Instagram | @stompycole
Website | www.lindseycole.co.uk
ANGIE SCARTH-JOHNSON | Aussie 14-year old climber
If you’re in the climbing scene, the name Angie Scarth-Johnson has probably been a household name for a few years now. When Angie was 9-years old, she became the youngest person in the world to climb a grade 31 and at 10-years old, Angie become the youngest person ever to send grades 32/33. At 15-years old, she became the first female climber and the youngest member of The North Face’s Australian and New Zealand Athlete Team.
If you’d like to see what she’s been up to most recently, check out her inaugural film, Pacific Lines. In this film, Angie travels to ‘Eua, an island in the Kingdom of Tonga, with two objectives: to connect to familial roots she knew little about and to evolve her climbing from climbing harder grades to developing totally new routes. (This film will be in this year’s Women’s Adventure Film Tour so keep an eye out for dates + tickets!)
We’re also super excited that Angie has her sights set on the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Instagram | @angiescarthjohnson
Website | www.angiescarthjohnson.com.au
NOURIA NEWMAN | whitewater champion
What makes Nouria unique is her ability to excel in a myriad of whitewater disciplines; from canoeing to freestyle to extreme kayaking. She’s medalled in all three sports across multiple World and European Championships.
Last year, Nouria took her paddling in another direction by going on a solo kayaking trip down the Tsarap, Zanskar and Indus rivers in the Himalayas. Over 7 days, she covered 375 kilometres and came out of it with some new deep insights about herself - “I really felt vulnerable and had a proper look at what my guts are made of.”.
And not only is Nouria a badass in the water but she also holds masters in journalism and political sciences.
Instagram | @nourianewman
ANNA MCNUFF | adventurer and author
Another She Went Wild favourite! Anna is a UK-born adventurer, speaker, influencer and author who was recently named by Condé Nast Traveller as one of the 50 most influential travellers of our time, and by the the Guardian as one of the top modern female adventurers .
Her list of mega and mini-adventures are seemingly endless so we’ll just highlight our top-picks; in 2013, Anna cycled solo and unassisted through all 50 states of the US raising money for a children-focussed charity, she’s spent 25 consecutive weeks wild camping on hilltops around London, in 2015, she ran the famous Te Araroa trail in New Zealand and in 2016-7, she had ascended over 100,000 metres-worth of mountains in some of South America’s most remote and inhospitable regions.
Currently, she is cruising and running her way through New Zealand. Anna’s ‘on a mission to find the limit of my own potential. I’m hoping to help you unlock yours too.’
Instagram | @annamcnuff
Website | www.annamcnuff.com
This is by no means a comprehensive list but we hope it highlights the awesome feats women are achieving in the outdoors! We hope it inspires you to get out there yourself and explore and push your physical and mental boundaries.
At She Went Wild, we will continue to celebrate women’s accomplishments in the name of adventure each and every day. We strive to always play our part in also promoting diversity and equality.
To find out more about International Women’s Day, click here.
Thuc is a lover of beautiful words, grand landscapes and meaningful relationships. In addition to manning the She Went Wild digital desk, she is a freelance content creator in the outdoors and fitness spaces. You’ll likely find her in the mountains with her camera and a notebook and pen!
Follow Thuc’s adventures on Instagram at @thuc.creative