We cannot deny that generally scuba diving is associated with men. When we tell our parents that we want to become scuba divers one day or that we are aspiring to become the instructors behind the best diving courses in Malaysia, we are often met with a scoff or a humorous laugh. Sometimes even disbelief and words of discouragement. However, in reality, scuba diving or becoming a diving instructor has no gender role attached to it. We may need physical strength and health to become good divers, but no one’s asking for the strength of the hulk. Scuba diving is for everyone and gender roles are the last things that need to be attached to the activity.
Half of the world’s wonders and miracles of fish and other edible wildlife lie in the ocean. And women should be given the equal and unbiased opportunity to explore it all, with no societal constrictions. So how can we do that? What are some things we can do to encourage more and more women?
Education is the first step of any change in the community. Education and of course, awareness. Girls and boys should be educated about marine life and the ocean from the same lens and handbook rather than the constricting one that defines conservative gender roles. Many teachers and instructors hold biased views against girls in various professions when teaching and this has a huge impact on a girl’s own perceived competence and confidence. Little girls and women who enter the field of scuba diving need a lot of confidence and high self-efficacy. The ocean and scuba diving might not be such a dangerous activity, but when entering with self-consciousness, it can be a daunting place.
Increased Volunteering Opportunities
Volunteerism for scuba diving instructors, targeting women participation will also have a positive impact on the empowerment of women in scuba diving. You can improve volunteerism opportunities by teaching women and girls in society. Or holding camps to teach them about marine life and the importance of its preservation. Schools and organizations work hand in hand to increase the number of volunteering opportunities for women scuba divers as well as the active participation of girls and women in non-profit movements and workshops.
All Female Diving Groups
Have you ever thought of establishing an all-female diving group in the community? Many female divers do not engage in the world of diving because they don’t have a partner to dive with as well. When we have a group created within the community, a network of female divers is created. More and more female divers will be encouraged to join the group and take part in scuba diving adventures. Creating groups establishes a feeling of belongingness and acceptance which often is hard for women to feel in various professions.
Scuba divers are needed more than ever and especially female divers. The representation of women in scuba diving professions has a lot of room for improvement through various programs and empowerment campaigns. Change starts with all of us, so let’s do as much as we can!