Gender Diversity Example
Although I usually do not want to generalize, but I can’t help but notice that in many cultures, girls are not encouraged to be very active in sports. As a result, when many of these girls become women, they do not lead very physically active lifestyles.
As I mentioned in a previous blog post, among the school kids I’ve been teaching this winter, many of the ones who have been slower starters have been ethnic. The one morning that really stands out in my mind was during the other week when a fairly big group of little East Indian girls put on skis for the very first time.
Although there were other kids from different cultural backgrounds who were slow starters as well that morning, the East Indian girls stood out because they were all having difficulties with their balance and coordination as an entire group. One by one, they all fell on the snow (which was soft) but unlike most kids who at least try to get up on their own, these girls just stayed down.
Soon, we had a whole group of helpless girls all at once that our team of ski instructors had to help get up as none of them seemed to have the physical strength to do so on their own. As you can imagine, this was a bit of a crazy morning for the ski instructors including myself.
I want all of these kids to do fairly well and have fun on their first day out on the snow so that perhaps some of them will catch the bug and pursue snow skiing as one of their sports. As an ethnic ski instructor, I especially want the ethnic kids to do well so that there will not only be more cultural diversity but also gender diversity on the ski slopes. But seeing just how many of these kids were catching on with even the basic skills, I wasn’t optimistic that many of them would be continuing on with the sport or any other sport for that matter.
Some of these girls admitted to me that they usually do not play much sports outside of what is required during gym classes at school. This is a real shame and I’m betting this is the reason for their relatively lower levels of physical development compared to the average school kids.
I would rather think that it is the lack of physical development during childhood because of non-participation in physical activities which resulted in their slower start on skis compared to the faster kids rather than any cultural or genetic reason.
In my ten years of teaching snow skiing so far, I have not come across many ethnic cultures especially when compared to the great diversity here in the Toronto area. I am teaching a bit more Asians in all age groups from kids to adults which is great.
However, I still do not see a significant increase in say Arab, black, or East Indian ski students yet. I’ve had a few adult East Indians as semi-regular ski students including those I introduced the sport to and are now intermediate level skiers but I have to admit that in general, even they are considered cautious, slower skiers.
With these direct experiences and observations, I came dangerously close to making certain stereotypes of my own but last week, I had one adult ski student which clearly smashed through any such stereotypes.
Her name is Amreen and she started to learn to snow ski right during her first year in North America when she came here from India. She’s now in her second year of skiing and I just had her in one of my classes this past weekend.
We were all really impressed by how fearless she was in terms of trying out steeper slopes. She picked up new techniques quickly, put 110% into the drills and was one of the faster skiers in my class.
If there are any numbers which still suggest that certain demographic groups like East Indian females are not athletic enough for sports, Amreen certainly shows that this certainly does not have to be the case. She demonstrates that cultural diversity and gender diversity are both alive and well even on North American ski slopes.
Amreen is doing something that even most North Americans, male and female, are still too hesitant to try out. In fact, both Amreen (pictured in the ski class photos with the purple jacket and top) and Marguerite, a Jamaican lady from my recent Jamaican skier video, are shining examples that women from non-snow cultures can indeed become skiers.
Oh yeah, Amreen skis a hell lot faster than her East Indian male counterparts and other guys from any other ethnic backgrounds at the same comparable ski level
Suck it up guys!