Outdoor Recreation Increases Self-Confidence in Women


  • J.S. Kovach


outdoor, recreation, women, leadership, self-confidence, physical activity, journal of student leadership


The potential benefits of participating in physical activity in the outdoors are known to be highly therapeutic and empowering. The last two decades have seen an increase in outdoor recreation research focusing on the social, mental, and physical implications for women in particular (Bosteder & Appleby, 2015). Inequities regarding participation in outdoor recreational activities exist between men and women, and women face constraints unique to their gender. These constraints include but are not limited to: societal and behavioral expectations, perceived low body image, self-consciousness, misrepresentation in the media, and a lack of appropriate gear designed for women. However, when women are able to overcome these barriers or even simply dare to step into a canoe in the outdoors (as an example), research has found that positive outdoor recreational experiences dramatically increase a woman’s self-valuation, self-confidence, and belief in her ability to lead.