How many times have you been the woman being led by the man across the countryside? And how many times have you longed to make the navigational decisions, or perhaps head off for a solo outing in the hills, or a walk with your girlfriends only?
It seems that you’re not the only one, because the numbers of women signing up for map reading courses is on the up. Another group of women that is keen to learn how to properly use a map and compass is mums. Many would like to lead their children on mini countrysdie adventures, so knowing how to navigateis a definite asset.
It’s not that these women-only navigation course organisers are being sexist, it’s simply that many have found that:
a) women prefer to learn in a female-only environment
b) Women tend to learn to navigate in a different way from men so it makes sense to run single sex sessions.
Why women only map-reading courses work
One navigation instructor confesses: “I usually find that women are much more relaxed without the men around. They enjoy a less competitive atmosphere and they offer a lot more support to each other.”
Certainly you’ll witness oodles of encouragement, inclusiveness and camaraderie on outdoors courses where only the women are invited.
Another reason for the female-only environment is that most women learn in a different way to men. Fran Loots, who teaches a course entitled Women CAN Read Maps, says: “It’s not that women aren’t able to read maps, but more that they look at maps and the landscape in a different way.
“They tend to visualise landmarks, while men are more formulaic in their map reading and tend to prefer the system of grid references.”
Fran, who runs the company Aye Can, adds: “That is not to say that it is easier teaching one gender over the other. It’s just that if there’s a group made up of only men or only women then instruction can be tailored to suit.”
Many women also benefit from being able to go at their own pace. They are usually more contemplative when making decisions, too.
Fran adds: “In an all-female group, the women will defer their decisions more among each other. This might mean that they take longer to reach a decision but in the end they actually take a more straightforward route and make fewer errors.”
Where to go for wonen-only navigation courses
- Chicks Unleashed at www.chicks-unleashed.co.uk
- Aye Can at www.ayecan.org.uk
- Glentrek at www.glentrek.com
- Talisman Activities at www.talisman-activities.co.uk
- Adventure Oakhampton at www.adventureokehampton.com
- Ramblers at www.ramblers.org.uk
- Original Outdoors at www.originaloutdoors.co.uk
These are just a selection. If you search on-lne there is sure to be a course near your own home.