MAKING A DIFFERENCE
As today is International Women’s Day, it seemed right to celebrate the fact and the many awesome women that we meet on a daily basis. There are numerous articles and discussion groups about equality, women’s rights etc; all perfectly laudable issues of course. But, it’s interesting to reflect though that over the decades women have just been ‘getting on with the job in hand’ and quietly making a difference in so many ways.
This week for instance we saw the first all-female walk in space - let's face it you can't get much higher!
I work in the world of skydiving, still a male dominated sport generally, but with some amazing women involved! Earlier this week I took a call from the CO of a Birmingham CCF group, he specifically wanted to praise the female instructor who had spent all weekend teaching his 16-18 year old cadets to jump from a perfectly serviceable aircraft. One of the things he mentioned was that her humour and knowledge carried the day and she had held their attention for nearly six hours. Not an easy ask for anyone with one teenager, let alone twelve of them!
In Bath recently I was privileged to meet up with a woman who runs a fitness clothing company here in the South West. She is a working mum and has built a successful business from scratch; but, not only is her product successful, what she is doing with some of the profit is even more inspiring, as she ploughs 5% of the profit into supporting women’s sport. Helping them get sponsorship and get them onto major television channels. She related the story of once being involved with obtaining sponsorship for a major player on the international golfing scene. It was easy to get corporate sponsorship for a famous male player, but when it came to women players, themselves as good as the men - no one wanted to know. She was actively told that no one would be interested in women's golf! That spurred her into action and her support has been phenomenal.
Over the last five years we have seen females show what can be done on the international field, in sports that have been primarily a male domain. Football, rugby and cricket have all proved successful, with the England women's cricket team showing at times they are winners on the international stage and as good if not better than their male counterparts.
There is a new film doing the rounds at the moment called Maiden. The film tells the inspirational story of how Tracy Edwards, a 24-year old cook on charter boats, became the skipper of the first ever all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989. After re-mortgaging her home and buying a second-hand boat, she went on to shock the sporting world and prove that women are the equal of men on water.
Things have come a long way since 1989 of course, but there are still battles to be won. Here at Netheravon the APA is in the forefront of moving things forward. We have some great female instructors including a brilliant Chief Instructor, experienced skydiving Instructors and a whole plethora of amazing female jumpers.
None of this means one gender is better than the other of course; it's about giving equal chances to all and I for one, like working with such inspiring females, but we should also be thankful for the amazing men that support us! Happy International Women’s Day ladies!
“I had a truly awesome experience yesterday, in every way. I was absolutely terrified but felt totally invincible afterwards and I even fell in love with your cameraman, Mike! Cam was lovely too and if I decide to do it again it would have to be with him. It was all very professional, from start to finish. They were a great bunch and I will recommend this to anyone and everyone. I jumped for the MS Trust and secured £723 in sponsorship so far with promises of more to come. It is great to feel alive again.”
“First ever tandem skydive for worthing churches homeless project today, loved it. Special thanks to my instructor Jay and the cameraman trevor who both made me laugh a lot and really relaxed me! definately want to jump again Thanks guys for a great day!”
"First charity tandem skydive done here last Saturday. Despite being extremely scared, the instructors made me feel completely at ease and in safe hands. Highly recommend anyone doing a jump, to do it here. Would definitely consider doing another skydive off the back of this experience despite my fear of heights and flying. Brilliant day and life experience. Thank you."
"First ever tandem skydive....amazing!!! Massive thank you to my instructor Gary u were fab!!!"
"Amazing Day, looked after from start to finish, great people, very friendly, relaxed atmosphere, Pete my tandem partner.. TOP BLOKE he was very professional and experienced. HIGHLY RECOMMEND this to anyone."
"Wow first ever tandem skydive today for oakhaven. Raised over £1000, so thank you all ... with my daughter Leah lopez, amazing surreal, nothing else like it. Thank you to Gary and Jay...... Leah now wants to do more and do a single jump!! Eeek!"