Why the B.I.G Initiative?
Train, strengthen, elevate. That’s the plan.
The B.I.G Idea is that it’s worth investing in and elevating the role of womxn in the climbing industry. Giving visibility to womxn in strong and positive leadership roles means we’re creating models of leadership for other womxn and for the next generation of girls.
Amelia Earhart said: “The most effective way to do it, is to do it.” If we want to see more womxn in routesetting, we have to train them and deepen their knowledge, strengthen their network and give them visibility. And that’s how we started.
We have a young sport so we can make of it what we want! We can make sure that proper support in coaching is offered to womxn and girls, we can make sure they get a say in how the sport grows and develops. We want young womxn and girls to dare to stay in sport past adolescence.
While we have all kinds of mischief planned to give womxn and girls better access to funding, training and visibility, we’re starting with routesetting. Setting is at the center of our sport. It’s where decisions are made. Setters decide on grades, and they influence style and trends in climbing. So, we want to pull up some seats at that table.
While there is no one reason for which there are fewer womxn than men in setting, when the number of women is equal, or close to equal, to the number of men setting, one thing does stand out: The difference in those cases is that there was a deliberate search for womxn who want to set.
So let’s try that! Let’s be deliberate. We know people want to give womxn a bigger place in climbing, so let’s all do it! Let’s make the road to leadership less foggy for them so they’ll take a chance!
Train, strengthen, elevate.
How can you help?
First of all, we welcome all collaborators. For this to work, we need everyone.
Help us give visibility to female led projects by letting us know about events or organizations that are for womxn and/or by womxn.
Hire or give apprenticeships to womxn from the workshops.
Promote the work we do, so that we can find the funds necessary to support women’s climbing projects.
Apply to be a host gym.
Write for the blog.
If you ask a womxn to volunteer, make sure it’s to help elevate her skills or strengthen her network.
Recognize efforts through equitable compensation.
Most importantly, always take into consideration how much and what kind of visibility you give womxn in the industry.
We’re all a part of this.
After much deliberation, we have decided to charge a nominal 20$ fee for all our outdoor rock climbing courses moving forward. While our route setting workshops will remain free, we will more openly encourage donations during both types of events. The main reason why we are asking for this small amount is to discourage last-minute no-shows to our outdoor courses. We understand that things come up last-minute, but so far, this has occurred at least once per outdoor course and removes an opportunity for another participant that could have benefited from the opportunity.
How can you teach a complex profession, such as route setting, in only two days? We sat down with Flannery Shay-Nemirow to shed light on what is taught in our route setting workshops and what they bring to the community.