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Mountain pursuits for females and older chaps.

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 GaryHW 04 Aug 2022

I started a similar thread in the pub but I really want to expand on it. 

My wife dropped out of the ML scheme because she wasn't interested and I quote, 'in getting into a peeing up the wall contest' with all the other younger male candidates on her training and preassessment. This is a shame as she would have made a great ML and can navigate anyone under the table.

Recently I read that there is a high majority drop out rate among females across the board. 

And I'm light of the press the ladies England team have gotten and there success when compared to the notable lack of it in the male team it made my wonder why?

I'm not sure older men suffer the same problem as I've not heard about it but I would guess it might be so.

I'm curious to hear people's thoughts on this. Is, for example, the ML scheme suffering from a similar, shall we say unconscious biased as the FA or is it just a fact of life that young male's seem to predominate this field?

If that's the case, what if anything can be done to rectify the balance and bring the gentler sex and older more experienced men forward?

Personally speaking I'd love a older lady to be a ML especially on some of the treks I've done in the past.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts. 

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In reply to GaryHW:

> And I'm light of the press the ladies England team have gotten and there success when compared to the notable lack of it in the male team it made my wonder why?

Lack of success?

Semi-finals of the World Cup and final of the Euros - is pretty good. 

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OP GaryHW 04 Aug 2022
In reply to Swig:

Ha ha... Second (rate or class).. Sorry just pulling your football leg.

Still question remains why are females and potentially older people not achieving.. Especially as these days the hills are teeming with them and they are some of the most experienced outdoors people. 

In reply to GaryHW:

I don't know but the ML is a qualification accessible to a wide range of people and doesn't require elite skills. Maybe your wife just ended with a few young fools on the course or assessment. 

OP GaryHW 04 Aug 2022
In reply to Swig:

Potentially Swig, she certainly doesn't suffer fools gladly... Wonder why she married me though 

 GDes 04 Aug 2022
In reply to Swig:

There's a big difference between theoretically accessible, and appealing in the current social climate. 

 henwardian 04 Aug 2022
In reply to Swig:

> I don't know but the ML is a qualification accessible to a wide range of people and doesn't require elite skills. Maybe your wife just ended with a few young fools on the course or assessment. 

This was honestly what I thought.

The course is just to get qualified, my 2 cents: Ignore the people on the course who are asshats and just get on with qualifying, it's not like you are going to need to spend time with those people after you've got your ticket and the only person you are defeating by dropping out is yourself. Learning to live with asshats is an essential life skill and in most lines of work, if you can't do that, you are going to run into problems because at least one of your colleagues, if not several, will fall into that category. Asshats are like water - they flow over you and the important thing is not to get washed away, let the asshats pass through/by/over you and in time, only you will remain.

Not sure this needed 2 threads though.

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In reply to GDes:

> There's a big difference between theoretically accessible, and appealing in the current social climate. 

True, but perhaps it's also a question of motivation? I can see the motivation for younger people (of both sexes) to do ML as they could see it as a way to a career into the outdoors.

Older people? Possibly doing it out of interest, but not thinking about a career due to more stable and financially rewarding jobs out there? I put up with a lot of pretty irritating people in my job because I get paid and they're an occupational hazard. If I was doing it as a hobby or on a voluntary basis I'd just go try something else.

That doesn't explain the higher female drop out rate though.

 BuzyG 04 Aug 2022
In reply to GaryHW:

With respect to older folk. I personally believe that many are happy to lead and pass on their experience to others and rightly or wrongly, do not necessarily appreciate the requirement of a qualification to do so freely in their spare time.   That may impact on the figures. 

Myself I have taken several courses of instruction in recent years from professional climbing instructors, as I have returned to rock climbing and much of the equipment was unrecognisable from my youth.  Conversely I have never taken any such courses wrt walking scrambling up mountains, in summer or winter. That is simply something I have done alone and with others for 50+ years.  Hence the experience is there and is regularly backed up and new skills lessons learned, both on the hill and on line.   

In reply to GaryHW:

I did ML as well as SPA in my mid 50's in preparation for retirement for something to do and to earn a little cash.  I did not enjoy it.  The instructor, in his 30's, seemed to have a downer on me and went out of his way to make things difficult. Other members on the course mentioned how difficult my night navigation legs were in comparison to those given to them and how his manner changed when he spoke to me.  I found the night navigation quite tough and we almost got to blows with some of the rope work. To be blunt he was simply wrong on a number of rope handling issues. I did suck it up but it soured my experience.

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In reply to GaryHW:

Explain what you mean by older people underachieving

 Wainers44 04 Aug 2022
In reply to Gaston Rubberpants:

I guess it is down to personal experience,  and if you are paying for the privilege yourself (I did), maybe you check out who you will be trained by? Don't know.

I had a range of instructors and assessors and even the venue was varied. 

I don't recognise the peeing competition references from the OP. On the contrary the youngsters who did decide faster or stronger was better, came to learn that the opposite is usually true very quickly. 

I did think one of my assessors had a downer on me when at one stage on assessment I caught him deliberately snagging my rope during a bit of steep ground work. I asked him why he did that only to me, and he said he thought I was best equipped (ie competent) to deal with it. Good answer I thought!

Wandering into the world of sexism maybe (gulp), but many of the female MLs I have come across have had very superior communication and leadership skills compared to their peers!

In reply to henwardian:

>  Ignore the people on the course who are asshats and just get on with qualifying.

Or, don't do the course. Just get get some pals to show you the ropes. Beats me why people to feel the need to do a course to go for a walk...............😉

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 Gordonbp 04 Aug 2022
In reply to Deleated bagger:

Unfortunately in this day and age of litigation at the drop of a hat, anyone perceived to be leading any sort of group, whether a group of ramblers or young people doing the Glyders could be up for unwelcome court action if something untoward happens and they don't have a "certificate".

Rubbish I know, but that's the age we live in....

8
In reply to Ridge:

> but not thinking about a career due to more stable and financially rewarding jobs out there?

Volunteering for things like DofE is increasingly difficult unless you have a pile of bits of paper that say you are qualified to tie your shoelaces, pitch a tent, walk 10 yards without tripping over, etc. I've seen ML demanded for jobs on the South Downs or in Ashdown Forest.

So retired people looking to volunteer might be forced to endure gung-ho asshats to get a bit of paper.

Post edited at 23:24
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 henwardian 04 Aug 2022
In reply to Deleated bagger:

> Or, don't do the course. Just get get some pals to show you the ropes. Beats me why people to feel the need to do a course to go for a walk...............😉

Kind of what Gordonbp said. It's not about being able to go off and do things yourself, it's about being able to teach/lead others professionally.

While you _can_ get insurance without the relevant ticket, it will be much harder and more expensive and you'll probably have to show a very serious depth of experience. Much easier to get the ticket. And you'll probably find that some/many of your clients will expect you to have a ticket and may book with someone else if another person has the ticket and you do not.

 girlymonkey 04 Aug 2022
In reply to GaryHW:

I think she just ended up with an unfortunate crowd. 

I have both my summer and winter ML, I work doing tourist guiding work, and I have never felt like people are treating me any different due to my gender. 

Being a good ML is massively about your people skills. Dealing with idiots in a professional way is part of the job as sadly we will all end up with idiots in our groups sometimes. She could just choose to view the idiots as a learning experience.

I had my last full day today with the group I am guiding this week and one commented on how much he appreciated me listening to what people actually wanted from the week and tailoring things to suit them rather than being too "goal" focused or sticking rigidly to the itinerary. Anyone can learn to navigate, but the skill of meeting the needs of everyone in the group and making sure everyone feels listened to is super important! If that is where her skills lie, encourage her to get back into it.

 Paul at work 05 Aug 2022
In reply to Gordonbp:

> Unfortunately in this day and age of litigation at the drop of a hat, anyone perceived to be leading any sort of group, whether a group of ramblers or young people doing the Glyders could be up for unwelcome court action if something untoward happens and they don't have a "certificate".

> Rubbish I know, but that's the age we live in....

That isn't true Gordon. If you are leading people you need to be competent to do so. This needs to be demostrated that you are competent (or an employer / deployer has to) if things wrong.

Even holding a 'certificate' on its own isn't enough to show this competency. I'm sure that you have meet a qualified 'insert job role' who is useless and no one will employ or use, it's the same in the outdoors.

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 nufkin 05 Aug 2022
In reply to Paul at work:

> If you are leading people you need to be competent to do so.

Legally, do you mean, or just morally? I was under the impression that qualifications aren’t compulsory for guiding people in the hills, it’s just that an ML, say, is a way to demonstrate that you have been assessed and deemed sufficiently competent to do so - which, as mentioned above, could be helpful if something goes wrong and you need to explain your actions

In reply to GaryHW:

I completed my ML in my late 40’s. Sounds like your wife fell in with a bad group. Mine was the opposite - they were younger but we were all supportive and I never felt unfairly treated or treated differently because I was female. I had a lot more experience that the others and that was respected. I did the training with PYB and assessment with Phil Green (highly recommended)- I was the only woman doing both the training and assessment but I work as an Engineer so am used to that ratio. Nothing happened that would have put off any women, except perhaps the ratio. 

The expression “gentler sex” did set my teeth on edge (I trust it was ironic) - there’s absolutely nothing gentler about most of the women I know!

Would recommend ML to anyone older or female and I am now loving my change of career and working in the outdoor industry. Just call out any ignorant or inappropriate prejudice and remember the people you train with don’t have to be your new best friends. 

 ExiledScot 05 Aug 2022
In reply to nufkin:

> Legally, do you mean, or just morally? I was under the impression that qualifications aren’t compulsory for guiding people in the hills, it’s just that an ML, say, is a way to demonstrate that you have been assessed and deemed sufficiently competent to do so - which, as mentioned above, could be helpful if something goes wrong and you need to explain your actions

Yes and no, it depends on the age group, kids in centres accredited with an adventurous activities licence very much need trained and appropriately qualified staff. It all stems from some tragedies a number of years ago. 

 Mark Haward 05 Aug 2022
In reply to GaryHW:

I'm sorry your wife had a poor experience. When I did my ML assessment some years ago ( through PYB ) I was an 'older man'. There were two women on the course too, and we had a female assessor for one day. All the instructors were very professional, treated everyone fairly and equally. Whilst it was true that most attendees were younger men this seemed to have no bearing on the quality or delivery of a challenging assessment.

    


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