[CQ-Contest] Recruiting Women into Contesting

Kenneth E. Harker kenharker at kenharker.com
Tue Aug 3 14:29:12 EDT 2004

On Thu, Jul 29, 2004 at 12:38:29AM -0500, Allan & Bridget wrote:
> I believe that Dave, K4JRB, is correct in thinking that the ratio of female
> contesters to female hams in the ham population is about the same as that of
> our male counterparts.

I actually inquired around with some folks I know at the League, and as far
as I can tell, the ARRL has never had any statistics on the male/female ratio
of either ARRL members or Amateur Radio service operators at large.*  I've
always had a feeling that way more than 2% of ham radio operators are female,
but I might be wrong.

To put the low female participation in radio contesting into perspective, 
the International Rugby Board statistics show that 25% of active rugby 
players in the United States and Canada are women, and I've read one 
statistic recently that as many as 70% of the players in contract bridge
tournaments are women.  I cannot think of any other competitive sport that 
is anywhere near 98+% male.

If the problem is that ham radio is 98% male, and we only recruit from 
within the ranks of the already licensed, then maybe we need to figure out 
how to attract women to get their licenses specifically to compete in
radio contesting.  How can we make contesting appealing enough to someone
that they might want to get a radio license to participate?  Can contesting
be marketed as a more appealing (or just as appealing) draw into the world 
of ham radio than 2M repeaters, emergency comms, shortwave DXing, etc.?

* The ARRL is spending $$$$ on selling ham radio to middle schoolers, 
  but doesn't even know how under-represented adult women might be in 
  ham radio.

Kenneth E. Harker WM5R
kenharker at kenharker.com

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