If I Go to the Range, Will I Be the Only Woman There?
No way! Archery, as perhaps the most worthwhile pastime known to humans, is wildly popular among women, and getting more and more popular with women every year.
In this post, I'll take a closer look at women in the archery world, discuss some facts and statistics about female archers, and help you get a feel if archery is for you. (Actually, that's not true—I'm going to try and convince you that archery is the best thing ever, so just bear with me).
OK! First up:
A Look at the Numbers
It's safe to say there are a lot of women archers out there:
The Archery Trade Association is an organization for people who work in the archery and bowhunting industry. They recently conducted a national study, and found that one-third of active archers were women, and that there are four million—yes, 4,000,000 women—involved in archery.
Interest among women archers has resulted in:
- Organizations for female archers, such as arcHER, which has a really active Facebook page and Twitter page;
- Bow manufacturers that form archery groups for women, such as the Bowtech Archery Women group, which also has a really active Facebook page;
- Some awesome websites dedicated solely to women archers and hunters, such as ShootLikeAGirl.com; and
- A "Women Archers" section in the Archery Talk forum, which is one of the oldest, saltiest archery websites on the internet. That section is updated almost daily, too, with women archers asking and answering questions. (By the way, Archery Talk isn't the prettiest website on the internet, but it is an INCREDIBLE resource—there are literally thousands of discussions about topics from equipment, to shooting skills, to hunting, to Olympic shooting, to whatever you can think of).
You're pretty much guaranteed to find plenty of female archers in your community—most ranges have plenty of women who are trying to hone their craft and become better archers.
At Some Point, Archery Manufacturers Figured Out That Women Are Really, Really Into Archery
I've been really happy to see that over the last few years, there have been a lot of products that have come out specifically for women. And, some other products that are basically unisex products, but tinted with colors that marketers think women like, such as pink, maroon, purple, and so on.
(Just BTW—I can actually hear my wife's voice in my head right now, telling me that it's mildly sexist for me to point out that bow manufacturers make pink bows... but they do! And, for the record, my wife likes some of the pink-colored products, some of the old-fashioned camo products, and she has a pretty fantastic black recurve bow, which, actually, I wish were mine).
Female Archery Role Models
I get a LOT of emails from parents, and many are from moms wanting to know if archery is a good sport for their daughters, and if it is, are there are any female role models I can point them to (if you're one of these readers, welcome! Thank you for writing!).
If you're looking for a female role model for a daughter who's into archery, check out Crystal Gauvin. She is one my heroes, inside-of-or-outside-of the archery world. She's got an "Whatever it is, I can do it" attitude, and she's pretty inspiring.
Crystal was born in Ohio, and LOVED sports. She competed in just about everything in grammar school and high school, and eventually played water polo and softball in college, where she majored in Mathematics. She graduated and worked for a few years as an economist. She's got a strong competitive streak, and after trying out archery on a whim—she had somehow never found archery—fell in love with it, and a passion was born.
Fast forward only a few years, and... Crystal is the #2 female archer in the world!
Crystal has a very active website, where she updates her blog with various articles related to archery and her climb towards archery world domination, and a frequently-updated Twitter page, where she tweets inspirational messages to her friends and fans. Check her out—she's amazing.
Do I Need to Be Very Strong to Pull a Bow String?
It wouldn't occur to me to include this question, but I've actually gotten a few emails about this, so I figured I'd include it in this post:
The answer is yes, you'll absolutely be able to pull a bow string properly. There's something called draw weight, which, basically, is the amount of force (measured in pounds) that it takes to pull a bow string back and shoot an arrow. There are "light" bows which have a draw weight of 15 pounds, all the way up to "heavy" bows, which can have a draw weight of 60 pounds of more. Most archers—both men and women—start off with bows on the light side, and work their way up to higher weights.
Archery is a Fantastic Couples Hobby
My wife and I go to the range, and she is a NATURAL. I'm super proud of her, and if I'm being honest, I'm a little frustrated! A lot about archery came really natural to her, and I had to work very hard to develop my skills!
Point is, if you already know someone who's into archery, or if your partner is into archery, make it into a shared hobby! My wife is my biggest supporter and I'm hers, and archery is one of those things we do together. That was a very pleasant surprise, and I'm very happy about it.
Is Archery for You?
You'll have to check that out for yourself! If you'd like to get into target shooting, you'll have a lot of company, and if you want to get into bowhunting, you'll have a lot of company there, too!
If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them below, and I'll reply. Thanks again for stopping by!