Written by Emily Pross, Marketing and Communications student
Being a women in a male dominated sport means that you are the minority. At most of the events I go to, there are only about 4 to 8 other female competitors compared to about 100 male ones. In some cases there are a decent amount of women that attend, but never enough to compare to the men. Though, like everything in life, there are positives and negatives to being the minority in a male dominated sport.
Of course, one benefit of being a woman in a male dominated sport is that you stand out from the crowd. In my experience, that can have its draw backs. Guys within the sport argue that women pick up sponsors easier because they are simply a women. That may be true, but the amount of actual support those women get from the sponsor is minimal compared to their male counter parts.
In a previous sponsorship I had, they would always give me the run around when it came to talking about certain things such as getting media exposure. It was very obvious to me that they never wanted to do any kind of media with me because I was a woman. It seemed like they thought that having me appear in their media wouldn’t move as much product as if they had used a man instead. Although the sponsor never directly told me that, it was very obvious to me that they never wanted to do any form of media exposure because of that factor.
One of the cool things about downhill skateboard racing is that girls can race in the open class with the guys, as well as in their own racing class, if they choose to do so. Personally, I love racing in the open class because its an opportunity to progress your skill and gain more racing experience. Doing well in the open class is the challenging part, especially for a woman.
However hard the guys work, the women have to work twice as hard if they want to be able to be competitive with the guys. Even then, simply doing well is not guaranteed because guys are stronger and faster by nature. Which is why women have to double the work load if they want a fighting chance racing against them.
While being a woman in a male dominated sport has it’s challenges, I’m proud of myself for what I’ve been able to do. I can’t wait to see how my fellow women athletes progress in our sport!