With Women’s Dive Day just behind us, it’s interesting to look at the evolution of female participation in diving. Initially, divers were nearly 100% male, and it was like that for quite a while. But, female engagement evolved from spectator to diver, and over time, shifted so that today, the proportion is almost 37% female diver participation globally and growing for scuba diving.
Given that the global human male to female ratio is approximately 50-50, with an emerging recognition for human beings who are non-binary, there’s no reason to expect a different ratio in sport diving participation – meaning we have additional work to do to be inclusive and accommodate diversity as a community. Fortunately, diving is the most inclusive sport in existence and Women’s Dive Day is an annual event that helps welcome underrepresented groups into the sport and reminds us of just how important this is.
Participation by everyone is vital to our future, full stop. As you likely know, the PADI organization is aggregating 1 billion PADI Torchbearers who love and care about the seas and witness, teach, share, inspire, advocate and act on behalf of preserving them. And as I’ve pointed out, 1 billion isn’t an arbitrary number – social sciences tell us the proportion of a population needed to shift thinking, and 1 billion is diving’s contribution – about half what’s needed internationally. Reaching a billion is a big lift (but we’re on our way, thanks to you, me and others like us), so it only makes sense to be reaching out and becoming more inclusive of all people to achieve our target.
The ocean does not discriminate. What it gives, it gives equally – the “Great Equalizer.” As the foundation of Earth’s ecosystem, the ocean gives life to all of us irrespective of gender, age, ethnicity, race, culture, faith or nationality. When we dive, it transforms us and enriches our lives, regardless of who we are or where we came from. Likewise, the ocean is not choosy about who witnesses, teaches, shares, inspires, advocates and acts on its behalf. The ocean welcomes and embraces everyone who wants to seek adventure and save it – shouldn’t we?
PADI President & CEO PADI Worldwide