Sorry for being so quiet lately I have had a lot going on and just haven’t had a chance to sit down and write. Now that the pesky Beast from the East part 2 has hit it has given me the opportunity to take a few hours to myself and write about something that has been playing on my mind a lot lately.
The last two years has seen a surge in female shooters across the country. Not only at a beginner level but at competition level as well. We have had some amazing young women take part in the Olympics and many will soon take part in the Commonwealth Games too. It has been an exciting couple of years for women shooters who have gone from being the minority, rarely catered for, to seeing an increase in the number of women shooters either in the field or at a clay ground. The increase has meant many have cottoned on to the gap in the market for women’s shooting items so there has been a surge in shooting clothing aimed specifically at women and even guns designed specifically for the female form.
For me one of the best changes has been the increase in proper loos for ladies at clay grounds – no more using the falling down outbuilding! It’s the little things.
BASC have even noticed this rise in female shooters with their largest growth in membership coming from women. Shooting is one of those sports where you are not at an advantage by being young, fit and healthy; I have seen some people who can barely walk shoot some of the highest birds in the field perfectly. Yet I have also seen ten year old children shooting some of the hardest targets at a clay ground like they were nothing.
So why it is when a woman stands to join the National Council for BASC have we seen a number of draconian comments from men regarding our reasons for taking part in this sport and and wanting to promote it through social media. To them we only get noticed because we are a novelty in the field; apparently the way we shoot has nothing to do with it. I find this utterly appalling; to many women this is their passion and they are extremely good at it. I have seen many women who are not only better shots than a lot of men I have shot with, but also more dedicated, safe and knowledgeable. So why in this day and age is their sex being taken into account when people are making their decisions on who to vote for?
I have been very lucky to have always been greeted with nothing but polite comments and encouragement from people within the shooting community, and I think the only way we can ensure the growth of this sport is to treat everyone the same. Regardless of gender and age we can all love the sport and have the same dedication to it. We should be encouraging and promoting more diverse participation in the sport, not belittling people for having less experience than someone more than twice their age!
As for social media; BASC themselves have even commented how this is one of their greatest tools to sharing and promoting our sport to the younger generation. It is a fantastic tool in the hands of the right people and as long as those who use it are promoting shooting in a positive light and are always being safe, legal and true then why shouldn’t we promote out sport to the world? I love sharing my achievements to my friends and asking for advice on social media. I have had some amazing comments or congratulations from complete strangers which has been so lovely and encouraging. The advice I have received from some highly experienced shots has been great too; I would have never had the chance to speak to these people if it wasn’t for social media.
Last year when we entered the Beretta Worlds we were the only all female squad to shoot the competition, but I don’t expect this to be the case this year. Each year more and more women are picking up a gun and trying this incredible sport and falling in love with it just as we all have. Surely this is a great thing and something we should all be encouraging. I for one think this is phenomenal and the more we can grow our sport the better!
Now please can this snow go so I can get back out with my gun and do what I love!