A few months ago, I did my PADI Instructor Development Course here at XTC. The course consisted of three women and two men. It wasn’t the first time in my diving career that I had been surrounded by mostly women, and I’m sure it won’t be the last! For the majority of my time as an intern, instructor candidate, and staff member here at XTC, the leadership positions have been mostly filled by women, and the same goes for the dive organization where I did my Divemaster training, two years ago.
My instructor was a woman, and four of five management positions were women. However, this most likely wouldn’t have been the case ten years ago. Women are taking up more space in the dive industry, and it’s something we at XTC are celebrating on this year’s Women in Diving day!
According to PADI, for years the ratio of men to women in diving was 65% to 35%, with men as the majority. New data is showing the shift that’s been taking place over the past five or so years, and women now make up 40% of new divers! This trend is probably obvious to people who have been diving for a decade or more. Think back to your first course, years ago.
What was the demographic of the dive center you were at? Do you think it would look the same today? In my own personal experience, I did my Open Water eight years ago, and was taught by a male instructor at dive center where all eleven of the instructors and divemasters were men. Now, I work at a dive center where three of the five instructors are women, and the same ratio applies to our Divemaster candidates. The evidence of women’s growth in this industry is obvious here!
Many people might think that the job of a divemaster or instructor is very physically intensive, and thus not suitable for women. Lifting tanks all day every day, prepping boats, carrying client’s BCD’s that have 16 pounds of integrated weights in them, etc. – it’s possible that there are a few people who would be quick to write off women as being able to manage that on a daily basis.
I can tell you now that I have female dive instructor and divemaster friends who are petite, and have spent the last years of their life doing everything that this job physically demands from them, with no issue. There is no reason to be intimidated by the physicality of the job – lifting tanks is not only easy, but it’s also an excellent workout!
All this is to say that women have come a long way in the dive industry, and our presence in upper management is only going to continue to grow. This is something that we should celebrate every day. Being a part of the this industry is an incredible gift, and something men and women should share equally. This July, I hope we can all dive with some of our favorite women, and encourage others to join us!