Gender is arguably the most ubiquitous individual difference that is attracting considerable interest in the outdoor education field. In spite of this trend, there is a lack of critical reviews of the anecdotal and research literature.
This paper examines the impact of gender on outdoor education experiences in areas which were chosen to be pertaining to staffing ratios, participant ratings of outdoor leaders, group processes and program outcomes. This paper is primarily a review of the research literature on the effect of gender on people’s outdoor education experiences because while a reasonable body of research exists, there is a rarity in reviews of the research literature which draw on insights from the anecdotal literature.
Although a comprehensive understanding of the impact that gender differences have in outdoor education is not yet developed, the interest in the filed is increasing and answers to such questions are starting to become available. With this research, it is hope that outdoor educators can make adjustments to their programs to account for gender differences.
Preliminary research indicates that there are two types of literature on the influence of gender in outdoor education. The first type comprises articles and books based mostly on accumulated experience and anecdotal evidence of outdoor education practitioners. …
2.0 Review of Related Literature
2.1Types of Gender Literature in Outdoor Education
Preliminary research indicates that there are two types of literature on the influence of gender in outdoor education. The first type comprises articles and books based mostly on accumulated experience and anecdotal evidence of outdoor education practitioners. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, the literature pertained mostly about outdoor education for delinquent boys but the 1980’s and the 1990’s registered a shift in emphasis as the works became mostly authored by women who tended to focus on expressing and explaining females’ experiences of the outdoors in single-sex and mixed-sex settings.
The second type of gender literature in outdoor education is research studies which use qualitative and/or quantitative methodologies. The majority of these studies does not investigate the role of gender in outdoor education but mentions gender as a variable in studies of the processes and outcomes of outdoor education.
While the dichotomy is not clear for many the outdoor education, the two sources of literature are distinct and make surprisingly little use of each other. As an example, in her introduction to a recent book "Women’s Voices in Experiential Education", Angelou (1996) commented that: "I find it noteworthy that no authors in this volume use quantitative justification as a basis for their essays…the experiences and voices of women are the foundation for hypothesis and analysis for contributors to this text" (p.4). On the other hand, the literature remarkably lacks a critical analysis in its reporting of gender-related outdoor education findings with the results often presented in a couple of sentences while the discussions rarely utilize the