Gender Equity in Outdoor Adventures: How Gender Constructs Shape Engagement at the University of San Diego
Abstract: Outdoor Adventures (OA) at the University of San Diego bridges the industries of outdoor education and higher education. This action research investigates the constructions of gender that inform programming and relationship building within OA. Through a survey and focus groups, I collected data from OA professional staff and student leaders. The purpose of this research was to explore how different genders engage with experiential learning in an outdoor setting through a lens of queer theory, by evaluating the engagement of OA professional staff and participants. My findings indicate that the constructs of gender inform the ways students experience their capacity for leadership, authenticity and belonging in Outdoor Adventures. From the data collected, I recommended that Outdoor Adventures and the University of San Diego continue to pursue gender inclusive practices that center the rights of all genders.