Gender: How does it effect the outdoor education experience?


James T. Neill

In Catalysts for Change: 10th National Outdoor Education Conference Proceedings Jan, 20-24, pp. 183-192. Collaroy Beach, Sydney, Australia: The Outdoor Professionals, 1997


As the literature about outdoor education grows, it is important that emerging trends are reviewed and the implications for practice discussed. Gender is arguably the most ubiquitous individual difference, and is attracting considerable interest in the outdoor education field. In spite of this trend, critical reviews of the anecdotal and research literature are lacking. This paper examines the impact of gender on outdoor education experiences in a number of areas, including staffing ratios, participant ratings of outdoor leaders, group processes, and program outcomes. The findings challenge some common perceptions about the role of gender in outdoor education experiences and suggest that new thinking about how to best facilitate the development of both males and females is needed.

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