My dad said to me once, “you can be a woman without being a lady”. He was referring to our dog at the time actually, and he had just called her a bitch, since she had stolen some very expensive cheese. I said, “She’s not a bitch, she’s a lady”, and that’s when he gave me that jewel of a quote.
So I am a woman diver. And when I’m not busy stealing expensive cheeses, I am a lady diver as well. And I love to see other ladies out in the scuba world. But it’s not as common as you might think.
According to PADI statistics, women comprised 33% of all entry level and continuing education certifications in 2011. They were 34% in 2010. 33% in 2009. 33% in 2008. You get the picture. Ladies do not seem to be increasing their certifications, which explains why I’m always so excited to see another girl with some steel and a Scuba Pro.
Some of the most awesome divers I know are women. But, come to think of it, MOST divers I know are men. Can someone explain this to me?
As I have climbed the PADI ladder of certification, I have noticed the drop in ladies present. As such, I specifically looked for a woman course director to conduct my IDC (and DAMN did I get a woman, look for my upcoming blog of my interview with JULES PAGE SUPERDIVER). Jules told me it was not uncommon to teach an entirely male IDC (Instructor Development Course), but that she much prefers to teach the course with at least one other woman present.
Women, she said, make a more cohesive group, make asking questions acceptable, and form nurturing bonds quicker, making the group more open.
So if this is what women/lady divers bring to the table, why are there so many less ladies in the water?
Here I go off into speculation. Diving is considered an extreme sport, and therefore more testosterone fueled. Personally, I have seen women have more panic while completing skills during confined and open water sessions. But perhaps this is not because women are more prone to panic, it is because they feel more allowed to display their fear, more accepted than a man might feel while experiencing the same feelings.
Also, they are (more often) being taught by men, who might not be able to empathize with what a woman is going through underwater, emotionally, physically, mentally. Men and women learn differently, and as such need to be accommodated.
Whatever the case may be, I hope, as a lady instructor, and a lady diver to introduce and encourage more women into the sport. I hope I can use the skills I’ve learned as a woman diver, to empathize with the ladies and to encourage the sport to grow and evolve into something that encourages more PEOPLE in general (women, all age groups, people with different abilities, and people who thought they could never master such a crazy, extreme sport (that was sarcasm btw) ). Scuba is for everyone, and I hope it’s no longer considered a boy’s club.
Happy Diving Ladies (and Gentlemen)