Why can't Women have it all?
When starting out in the equine industry you usually see predominately 80% female riders, as mentioned in my previous article, comments, or remarks towards young females in an adjustment period of their lives usually results in a large number withdrawing from the sport in their late teens and early 20s. If you look at the elite riders in the sport, it is largely male dominated, this can be as a result of the stereotype of males being stronger than women and therefore better equipped to rider at the top level, women may not feel they have the confidence or a voice to stand up for themselves when being disrespected or overlooked for certain events, jobs, competition levels as opposed to their male counterparts, they may respond with a dirty look or a fly away comment, but why not allow women to feel like they have the power they need to stand up for themselves in situations where they are being disregarded.
If you take a look at the racing industry, this is a predominantly male dominated area, however there are a lot of young rising stars within the racing industry that are female, they put in the hours, the injuries, the heartbreak, the passion, and everything else that comes with it, so why is it that when it comes to the day to day working in certain race yards or when it comes to getting the chance to race they are less valued, it may not be intentional and it may just be a simple fact a certain jockey is better suited to a horse regardless of gender, but from researching this article it still seems to be an issue within the industry that may need to be addressed.
Women run equine businesses are lesser than others, however they are increasing. It is important for women running businesses to thrive and to show younger generations that it is an achievable target for women to run a company and that males and females are equal. Rivalry and belittling between women seems to be a thing of the past, there will always be a certain degree of competition in all aspects of life that can be used as a positive to drive and promote growth of each other. When you look at media and sponsorship deals, it appears that male and females are treated equally with regards to coverage, exposure, and opportunities. I feel this is a great positive for the industry. The sponsorship or brand ambassador programmes may have even slanted more towards women, as can be observed on social media.
From researching this article I have heard a few comments used multiple times when considering why females may not continue in the equine industry after a certain age, to which in have heard the responses ‘being told from a young age that you won’t make it because you’re a girl’ ‘you’ll be getting married and having babies won’t you?’. What does getting married and having children have to do with your ability to ride a horse or compete at a top level, if anything childbirth should automatically give you one up. Yes, there are women competing at the top levels and they are achieving great results, however if they do take time out to start a family the comments about them never being able to rise to the top again may actually what prevents them from getting back there. If someone is competing at the highest level, they start a family and believe in themselves enough to get back to the level they were at, should that not be enough? Why are other people’s opinions the voices in your head, again back to the passive comments that may have been made years previously that you thought had no effect but they stay there in the subconscious waiting to rear its ugly head the second there is a shred of self-doubt. I think it is important for the younger generation to remember that they can achieve anything they put their mind to, giving up is not an option going forward, if you want something bad enough and put in the work to achieve your goals it will happen, the only person that can get in your way is yourself.
You will have heard it countless times already but within the Equitas family, it is women who support women regardless of anything else.