The Women In The Hills (WITH) research network will highlight how women constitute a distinct community of land-users, whose experiences and representations of landscape, and whose values and beliefs regarding the natural world, frequently differ from those of men. WITH will focus on the experiences of female walkers, runners, and climbers in upland wildernesses in the United Kingdom, from 1800 to the present day. The network intends to explore the numerous factors that shape, hinder and enhance women’s engagements with landscape and the natural world. Our aim is to bring together academics, creative practitioners and stakeholders across a wide range of disciplines and sectors, to identify and evaluate barriers and catalysts to, and benefits derived from, women’s participation in leisure activities in the hills.
One of the network’s major outputs will be a policy document identifying numerous barriers to women’s participation, and recommending deliverable improvements, which can be drawn upon by a wide range of individuals and organisations invested in enhancing women’s experiences of walking, running and climbing in the UK hills.
The key questions that the network will be discussing are:
- What factors have hindered and marred women’s access to, and experiences of, running, hiking and climbing in the UK’s hills, from c. 1800 to the present day?
- What have been the individual, social, and aesthetic consequences of the historical marginalisation of women’s voices and representations of these activities and landscapes?
- What factors have promoted and improved women’s access to, and experiences of, recreation in UK uplands, from c. 1800 to the present?
- What interventions and improvements might be made – and by whom – to enhance women’s access to, and experiences and representations of, running, walking and climbing in the UK hills?