Editors note: this was an old post that we no longer stand by. Please see this article for our current position:



Perhaps I missed something. I didn't see anything about lowering standards for women to enter guide training. I have seen both men and women "wash out" of guide training for numerous reasons. It's not for everybody. If anyone can meet the entry level standards, regardless of gender, they qualify in my book. As to whether I want them on my two boat trip, well that's a decision that comes only with time and experience both theirs and mine with them. This article seems pointless and frankly, illogical. That's my 35 years of experience and 2cents worth…

Adam, you're getting confused between 'encouraging' and 'giving a free ride'. And in doing so, and writing a misinformed article, you made it even less appealing for women to join the profession.

I row dories in the Grand Canyon and have been a river guide all over the world as well for over 40 years. This article makes so little sense that I suspect the author wrote it because of a deadline and article commitment rather than being serious. Some of the best guides I've ever rowed with are women, as he notes. To suggest that encouraging more women to deal with the usual hazing, harassment and testosterone poisoning that Tully guides are infamous for is any different for them than it would be for a fat, old, short Jewish boy like me is baloney. Those of us good enough and lucky enough and thick-skinned enough to make it to the other side have a responsibility to tamp down BS like this, so, consider yourself tamped.

Hi Scotty,

You are correct. At this stage there has been no formal push to lower standards so as to encourage more women into the industry. But a few things have happened that lead me to believe that it could be just around the corner if we're not careful.

Firstly, many other workplaces have already gone down this route. The US marine corp has a quota system, firefighting and police forces have a quota system, and there are many more examples. As a consequence it is on record that standards have had to be lowered in every one of these examples in order to accommodate the influx of women who are simply incapable of reaching minimum expectations.

But this has been going on for some time. What set my personal antenna to high alert was the publication of this report:

The reaction to that report has been a typical knee-jerk reaction that the rafting industry is male dominated and thus misogynistic, and that the only way to solve the problem is to raise the number of female guides.

Now personally, as a man, I find it highly insulting and provocative for people to believe that an industry is misogynistic simply because it is dominated by men. Let's remember that the definition of misogyny is a pathological hatred of women. But in the current political climate this is par for the course.

I consider that report and the reaction to it the first step in the inexorable slide to lower barriers of entry to women in the rafting industry. Barriers of entry that are entirely performance based and nothing at all to do with discrimination.

I prefer to sound the alarm before the rot sets in. If you're far-sighted then you too will act to protect your industry before it is compromised as so many other workplaces have already discovered only when it was too late.

Hi Jean,

I'm not confused about the two at all. Encouraging women into the history means seeking them out to become riverguides because they are female and nothing more. If this happened they would inevitably have to be given a free ride in order for them to pass and fill the required female "quota".

I object to any encouragement based on a person's gender, race, or age. If you want to become a guide then great. Step and do it. Otherwise stay away.

Excellent article. A shame that the replies do not use similar logical argument. The women that are currently doing the job have got there due to desire and natural ability. The fact that there are very few of them is evidence that such desire and ability is pretty rare among women in general. Therefore helping more women to enter the industry will require that standards be lowered.

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