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#ShePaddles - what is it all about?

Women’s Paddling Ambassadors, a hashtag, clothing, a Facebook group just for female paddlers...what’s that all about then? If paddlesport is for everyone, then why are British Canoeing making such a fuss about women?

Bex Pope

credit Bex Pope

Well, it all starts with boring statistics and figures. No, don’t leave yet...we aren’t going to quote them all here! We know you’d far rather be paddling than staring at a page of stats. Here’s a basic overview; there are more men paddling than there are women. There you have it, short and (for us) not so sweet.

So, you just want more women paddling?

Nope. We also want those women to get to where they want to be in paddlesport. That means creating a welcoming and supportive environment at every level within the sport. Research shows (don’t yawn at the back there) that women will hold back from presenting themselves for assessment far longer than men at the same paddling level. 

It’s important to us that, if women want to move into coaching and leadership roles, they get there!

It’s just a hashtag; how does that make a difference?

#ShePaddles is just one part of a bigger movement. Yes, we want to create the chatter on social media but we are also producing some tangible things to help everyone understand how they can make a difference. Such as this Engaging Women In Paddlesport document - there are stats and figures in this but we promise it’s an interesting read and has lots of great information too!

For the third year we’ve enlisted the help of ten inspiring ladies as #ShePaddles Ambassadors. They were chosen for a range of reasons but mainly just for their full on passion for paddling! Our ambassadors are busy spreading the love in a range of disciplines and at all levels of the sport. We’re sure you want to know more, so you can read all about them here.

We also figured that the only way to get a movement moving was to give it space! So we created the Women’s Paddling Community on Facebook. An awesome group where almost 1000 female paddlers are sharing and supporting their paddling ideas and ambitions. 

Our other exciting news... the Sport England funded #ShePaddles Club Champion Project. Where we have secured £28,000 to allow us to develop 100 women and girls in clubs, to help them improve the provision for others and give them the chance to gain the Paddlesport Instructor Award.

You can learn more about that project here.

Equality Equity

It doesn't feel very equal to me

When people say 'it’s not equal to have a #ShePaddles' we say ‘you’re right!’. The best way to explain why we have #ShePaddles is by talking about equality and equity. And here's our favourite way of describing that...

If everyone is given exactly the same canoe or kayak, that's equality. If everyone is given the canoe or kayak which is suitable for them, that's equity. Although both promote fairness, equality does this by treating everyone the same regardless of need, while equity gets there by treating people differently dependent on need. Through using equity we can reach equality!

Why can’t we have #HePaddles too?

You can! We want everyone to share their love of paddling, so feel free to use whichever hashtags sum that up for you. But...what would be equally as awesome is if you celebrate the amazing female paddlers in your life. #ShePaddles is definitely not ‘just for girls’! Join the movement and spread the #ShePaddles love!

If you want to know more about the #ShePaddles campaign and how you can be a part of getting more women paddling please contact Cadi Lambert at [email protected] popular demand

Driven and developed by conversations in the Women’s Paddling Community and on the ground, we have a brand new #ShePaddles clothing range in our online store. Check it out and grab your gear here.

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