Gender Inequality

This Black British hiker is tackling exclusion from the outdoors

Rhiane Fatinikun started a hiking group for Black women in 2019 Image: Facebook/ Black Girls Hike

Keyaira Kelly
Share:
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Gender Inequality?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Gender Inequality is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Gender Inequality

  • A diversity gap in outdoor activities means a disproportionate share of visitors to public parks are white.
  • In the US, around 90% of visitors to public parks are white, despite making up about 60% of the population.
  • One UK hiker has created a community for women of colour to help make outdoor activities more inclusive.

As corporations, governments, organizations and educational institutions confront what diversity and inclusion looks like from the inside, one UK hiker has created a community for people of colour outdoors.

Discover

What's the World Economic Forum doing about diversity, equity and inclusion?

Rhiane Fatinikun founded Black Girls Hike (BGH) in 2019 to encourage black women to explore the UK countryside in the safety of sisterhood. Fatinikun came up with the idea when she noticed there were few people who looked like her involved in the hobby. Hiking is often considered a white-dominated activity, and the Greater Manchester resident wanted to do her part to change that.

"The lack of representation in hiking is clear for all to see", Fatinikun told Women’s Health this year.

"It's never something I associated with Black people – it’s not even marketed at Black people."

“I wasn’t keen on the prospect of venturing out alone or joining a typical hikers’ group where there'd be nobody I could identify with.”

The idea for Black Girls Hike was born. Fatinikun launched an Instagram profile for the group and planned their first meet-up last year. Since BGH began, 150 women have joined Fatinikun on 19 different hikes. Together, they have scaled Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales.

Have you read?

Fatinikun’s experiences illustrate the wider issue of a lack of diversity in public parks. In the US, around 90% of visitors to public parks are white, despite making up about 60% of the population.

The lack of minority visitors on public lands could be linked to affordability and access. Some parks have entrance fees, are unreachable by public transit, or require expensive equipment.

There is also a history of prejudice tied to outdoors activities. Until 1964, segregation laws were still in place at public recreation sites, including parks. A 2018 study found 66% of US Blacks surveyed associated the outdoors with lynching, slavery and police brutality.

Research shows access to green spaces can help with depression, decrease stress and improve physical health. As society leans into the health benefits of nature, it’s important that all cultures and ethnicities feel safe and welcome outdoors.

“I’m proud that we’re challenging stereotypes and showing people that the outdoors is for everyone – representation really does matter,” Fatinikun said.

The group is currently raising money to create nature retreats to help women heal from traumatic events. The retreats will include trained counsellors and wellness workshops, along with forest bathing, yoga and meditation.

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Gender InequalityGlobal HealthMental HealthFuture of the Environment
Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

The gender health gap: It's more than a women’s issue. Here’s why

Smriti Zubin Irani and Shyam Bishen

February 21, 2024

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum