I don’t know if this is allowed or cool or against the rules of reddit or the galaxy, but there is a really good question posted over there right now. An anonymous girl wonders if she’s “that guy” at her DZ — the one people worry about because she’s so unsafe and terrible at skydiving.
The question – and resulting great advice – has nothing to do with sex and/or gender, but it’s what I’m still thinking about. From the start, I had a hunch it was posted by a girl. She talks about only doing small tracking jumps because she’s not 100% confident in her skills and doesn’t want to put other people in danger. I know there are exceptions #noteveryman but I don’t hear that concern from male jumpers often.
And landings. Oh, the dreaded female landing problem. I die inside a little every time I think about this. I want to not see the obvious — that it’s usually women who can’t stand up landings when they want to. It’s usually women who dislike, or even fear, canopy flight. It’s usually women who don’t quite “get” landing patterns. There are lots of really good female canopy pilots, not just competitive CPers, but everyday, good, solid pilots. The people who do have problems though? Yeah. Lots of women.
There is no biological reason why women should have more difficulty flying a parachute than men have. None. You can talk to me about iron levels in the nose or depth perception or whatever crap you want but I simply don’t believe men and women have enough physical differences to matter when it comes to flying and landing a modern-day parachute.
Am I right in thinking that, although women make up 15% of the sport, we take up a lot higher percentage of the people who had trouble with canopy flight – or are not confident in our skydiving skills all around?
If you wouldn’t mind, click the button below to take a super quick survey, because I like data. I have a hunch what the results will be like, but maybe I’m wrong. If you don’t want a pop-up survey, it’s also here: blueskiesmag.typeform.com/to/hsTRD4.
I shall report back with glorious graphs and numbers; in the meantime, what do you think? Do you see more women than men struggle with canopy flight and confidence in general? What can we do about that? Sisters In Skydiving is a great start; are there other programs or tactics you’ve seen work well?
PS: I don’t really know if this is a sex or a gender thing. I use “male” and “female” here in a kind of hazy, generic sex-and-gender way, with no intention to exclude or limit — more because I have no idea where the skydiving-confidence difference comes from.