There was a really interesting discussion at the end of the Women in Adventure Expo. The topic was; women in the media and women struggling to get sponsorship from companies. There was lots of conversations around this subject and it could have easily turned into a parade of stories of all the things that hadn’t happened, and how hard done by we all are. How it’s just not fair and things need to change, and why isn’t anything being done about it?!
It was getting very close to a sob fest, which I didn’t want.
I don’t want women to play the victim any more and I don’t want the focus to be on all the stuff we can’t control and the things we can’t change now.
Would I like the government to be representative of the country and have 50% of the MPs female - Yes.
Do I want FTSE 100 companies to have 50% of its board members as female - Yes.
Is that going to happen? I do believe - Yes, at some point in the future, but what I’m interested in, is what can we do NOW.
Times have changed, it’s 2015. The world and how the world works has changed. Technology has change how we connect, how we interact, how we work and its impacted on every part of our lives. Because of this we do have power. We don’t need to sit around and wait for other other people to make things happen. We can take the actions now.
Current World - you have to write to a publisher, send them a copy of your manuscript, get them to read it, get contracts and eventually and if you’re very lucky a book would be published. If you’re female you don’t stand an equal change of getting published. The reason J.K. Rowling didn't use her full name, it would have been held against her and the Harry Potter series may not have been published.
New World - you can self publish your work and get it out there for the world to see. You can write your book, hire an editor, have a professional looking cover designed and you can upload it to Amazon and your book can be available all over the world in 24hrs. That is amazing. I have self-published for all my books.
Current World - waiting for a TV company or a production company to do a program with you now. However, they discriminate and they only want stereotypical looking women to be on the TV, you need to have a certain look . Generally you need to be thin, pretty, great smile and attractive. You have to have the look.
They have all the power of what to put on our TV screens. They choose what they’re putting out there, and they put the same programs out, with the same type of people. It’s so boring! It’s been so done.
I’m sick of seeing just male adventures and male sports stars on the TV.
Would I like TV companies to wake up and realise that women like sports, women like being active and women like adventure - Yes.
Would I like them to cater for 52% of the population - YES.
Is change going to happen - Yes - eventually. But I don’t want to wait anymore.
New World - Everyone has a camera on their phone these days. You can record yourself - Vlog (Video Blog) - upload it on to Youtube. You can live stream on Periscope.
You don’t even need a special camera, you can do this with your phone! You can start your own TV channel and this is what I’m going to do. Tough Girl TV has a nice ring to it!
You can learn how to record, how to edit and you can put out your own content yourself. It may not be perfect when you start, but do you know what, you’ll get better over time. The key thing is to just start.
Current world - You need to find a journalist to write and publish your story.
New world - You can start a blog - its free! That way you can publish your own content, you can say what you want to say, and say it how you’d say it. Just by being yourself. People get that and understand it. There will be a market for your content. Someone out their will be interested in what you have to say, share your story with the world.
Current world - marking and advertising: expensive and costly - TV, radio, magazines, leaflets etc.
New World - Social Media - get on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram etc. Pick your social media platform and just rock it. Be active and be consistent. This is how you promote your content. Plus its FREE. The only limitation is knowing what to do, and the time it takes to do it.
The way the current world has been working, it's not been working for me, and it hasn’t been working for women. There’s dismal representation of women in the media, hence, a pathetic amount of sponsorship for women.
So, do we just sit here, and say, “things will change, things will get better in time?” - NO
As you've probably gathered, I’m not shy about coming forward and as much as I love talking, I also want to change things and to change anything, you have to be a part of it, and you have to take action.
I was so annoyed that women's stories weren’t getting promoted, I started the Tough Girl Podcast to promote them and to get their stories out there.
I am doing my bit to spread the message and to get these stories out to the public. But I can’t do this all on my own. I need your help and your support.
So I’m going to provide every single idea I can think of that women and men can do to retake control and start helping themselves and other women to be seen and to be heard and to change the amount of media coverage and sponsorship that women get.
We can change this, if enough women TAKE ACTION.
Be one of those women!!!!
I’m not saying you have to do everything on this list and I’m not saying everything on this list will work. But try it and see. Pick one thing or pick a few and see what happens. There’s no harm in trying.
These are my ideas……roughly written down and in no particular order! I’m sure you have plenty of your own ideas as well, so comment below and share!!
If you're not on social media, its time to embrace it. START.
If you're on social media but know you don't use it to the best of your ability - get some training, get some coaching, ask a friend, buy a book. It’s time to up skill. You can go on Youtube and type in - how to be good at twitter and how does twitter work etc - It will show you and tell you. There’s no excuse, you need to learn this.
Communication is key. What’s the point in doing all these amazing challenges, if you don’t share them and tell the world? You have a duty to inspire other women. You’ve already done the hard bit, just follow it though to the natural conclusion.
You have a story to share and you want to get it out there, but scared of public speaking? It’s time to face your fear. Yes I know you’d rather run across a continent than stand up in a room of people and tell your story, But practice makes perfect. Start giving free talks at local schools, clubs, societies etc. Join toastmasters to get good at speaking in public. Like any skill you'll get better if you practice it!!!
Get on Twitter - it’s how I connect with my guests and how I’ve build up an amazing network of other similar minded people. It’s also how I promote the Tough Girl Podcast.
Be active on twitter, send one tweet per day. If you don’t have time to tweet, set up automated tweets (Social Oomph, Hootsuite etc), tweet your blog posts, post pictures of what you've been doing. Share interesting articles.
Retweet other women! Share their stories with your followers and they will do the same to you. Give encouragement and like their posts. Help to spread the word
Always tweet with a picture - there’s more change it will get re tweeted.
Follow the women who inspire you via social media. Keep updated on their challenges. How can you support them? Interview them for your blog? for your podcast? buy their book? sponsor them? Connect them with other women? There is always something you can do to support them.
Get on Instagram - follow the women who inspire you.
Instagram - build up your own audience. Upload one picture per day and add plenty of hashtags, make it easy for people to find you. Be consistent, make it a habit.
Every Wednesday upload a photo to Instagram of another women who inspires you. Use the hashtag #WomenCrushWednesday #WCW - tag the women who inspire you!! Your followers will hopefully then go and check her out and start following her as well. If everyone does this, the community will get bigger.
When you get invited to share your story on a blog or a podcast say YES!!!
When you get invited to go on TV to share your story - say YES!!
When you get invited on to a Vlog - say YES!!
When you get invited to attend an event as a guest - say YES!!!
When you get invited to do a challenge outside of your comfort zone - say YES!!!
Start networking. Meet more people. Connect with more people, both women and men.
Share your blog posts on LinkedIn. It’s just a cut and paste exercise. Once you’ve done the hard work - writing it. It only takes minutes to upload it onto different platforms.
Write articles your passionate about. Upload them on LinkedIn. Pick one day a week you upload on. For example, the Tough Girl Podcast comes out every Tuesday so every Tuesday I upload a blog piece about the guest to my website, my Facebook page and on Linkedin.
Aim for 500+ followers on LinkedIn - be proactive with building your network. The more people you know the better, not just for you, but for everyone you know. Your networth is your network.
Film your challenge and adventures - upload and share on Youtube
Create a showreel about YOU and what you’ve done!!!
Apply for the TV shows who are looking for female adventures, give it a go. What’s the worst that can happen? Maybe failure? Maybe you don’t succeed. But do you know what - at least you tried, you gave it ago and wouldn’t you rather say, you know what I tired, rather than what if? At least you gave it a go!!!
When your story is covered on a blog or podcast - share this with your friends and family. Help to promote it and spread the word. It will benefit you both!!!! Set up a regular tweet about it. e.g. I was interviewed for a podcast back in September, every month I tweet about it. My new followers may not know about it and good content is still good content no matter from how long ago it was.
Create your own social media plan - Have goals of what you want to achieve. e.g. how many followers you want to gain, each day, week, month etc.
Retweet other female adventures, explorers, challengers - spread their message as well. I always try to retweet as many other women as possible. If they have interesting things to say, its probably going to be of interest to my followers.
It takes less than a second to like a picture, a tweet or to do a retweet or share. Share the content you like!!!
Collaboration is key. You’re not competing with other women, they’re not your competition. Everyone has their own journey and their own story to share and every one is different. There is enough room for everyone to succeed.
Read a blog you enjoy - comment on it tell the writer you liked it!! They’ll appreciate your feedback. Share it on twitter, Facebook, G+, Tumbler, Linkedin etc.
Start your own blog, write about your experiences, you don’t have to be the best writer to do this. You just have to be you and you just have to start. Word press is free and easy to set up!!
Like and support other female adventures Facebook pages. e.g. after a conference, I will go through everyone I met, I will find their page on Facebook, like it and share it. I will follow them on twitter, I will go through their past few tweets and retweet and like any tweets I think are relevant. I will connect with them on Linkedin etc. If those social media platforms aren’t your thing. That’s ok - what platform do you use? Pinterest, Tumbler, Youtube - go and search them out and find them.
If you meet someone awesome networking. Follow up with them, meet them for a coffee, have a Skyoe call, make the effort to help them.
Share your Facebook page with your friends. Invite your friends to like your page.
Buy and read books written by other women adventurers - every single member of the Women in Adventure Expo panel had written a book, or were in the process of writing a book. Buy it, read it, review it and share it.
Buy books of other female adventurers and give them to your friends and family as presents. Help to spread the word of what these amazing women are doing.
Write a review in Amazon, help to spread the word, that encourages other people to buy the books, more books being sold, equals more people finding out about these awesome women, which in turn helps to raise awareness. It takes less than two minutes to write a review, go and do it!!!!
I know from experience the more reviews you have the more chance you have of selling more books. I sell about thirty books a month and get maybe one review every three months if that. Its so frustrating!!!
Connect with other similar minded women on Linkedin. Increase your network, help and support them. If they share posts which you like and agree with; like, comment and share.
Keep attending events like the Women in Adventure Expo - tell your friends about it. Write about the experience on your blog. Tell other women about it, so next year two hundred women attend. That is how its going to grow!!
If you interview, blog about or do a podcast interview with an awesome women - write them a recommendation on LinkedIn. Praise them, share their accomplishments. I write a written recommendation for all of my guest on the Tough Girl Podcast and send it through to the guests.
If you listen to a podcast and you enjoy it - write a review, and share it with your friends!
Shout about your own achievements. Tell the world what you’ve done. Be proud of what you’ve achievement. I personally want to inspire the next generation of women and girls and to do that, young girls need female role models in the media and in the news. You have a duty to do this.
Only attend conferences where there are women speakers on the panel. I personally now check to see how many women speakers there are before I attend any conference. I will now not attend a conference, if there are no women speakers. I am putting my money were my mouth is. If women stopped attending conference, were they are not represented. The conference organisers would soon wise up and realise they need to be representative of the population and include women on their panel of experts.
If you see a fellow female in a news story - share it, like it, comment on it. Social media gives you so much power these days, so use it.
Awards - if you see a women up for an award - take the time to vote for her!! Tell your friends about it, get them to vote. Again, this would take what? Two minutes to do!
Use your voice, if you don’t like it - say something. Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo, Question it, Challenge it and you will Change it.
Where do you spend your money? I for one will look at Lowe Alpine more closely as they supported the Women in Adventure Expo, so I in turn want to support them.
Support the companies that support women and tell them - why you're supporting them. Follow them on twitter - thank them, buy from them, encourage them, motivate them and show them that if they support women, women will support them.
Thank the sponsors of women’s events. Connect with them and engage with them. Tell them, what they’re doing is fantastic and you’ll support them.
Keep doing your own challenges and adventures. Spread the word about what you're doing. Tweet about it, record it, Instagram it. Inspire other women and girls to go out and follow their dreams.
Women in movies - did you go and watch, Suffragettes for example? Did you write a review, did you tell your friends? If we want more women in movies we need to support the movies that have women in. Have you watched Jessica Jones, the new Marvel kick ass female super hero? Is Netflicks being made aware this is what women want to watch?
Do you want to see more women in adventure on TV? I do - No more men with beards and biceps. It’s time for a change. Women go on adventures! Make TV companies aware of this. Watch the shows which have women involved.
Just because things have been done a certain way over the past few hundred years, doesn’t mean it has to continue in that way. Women are breaking boundaries, all over the place, discovering new challenges, completing new adventures and pushing the limits on human endurance. Every single thing a man can do a women can do. They're doing it now!!!
The world just needs to be able to see it.
Change is happening, it’s just happening far too slowly for me and if you want, you can help to speed it up.
Remember - You’re not helpless, you have real power to make a change.
There were over 100 women at the Women in Adventure Expo in Bristol. If every women in that room did a few of the things listed above. It could lead to a massive positive change that would benefit all of the women in the industry and beyond.
Do something about it.
Take a stand.
Start promoting what you love.
We all have the power to make this change. We all have power to drive this change forward.
Change happens with the individual. That means YOU.
What are you going to do differently going forward?
If you want to see these changes happen now and not at some point in the future.