Once you’ve attracted women to come along for a visit (most likely to do a Try Dive), there are lots of fairly simple changes your club could make to be as welcoming and inclusive as possible.
Remember to seek existing member input into any changes and ask their opinions when testing out new ideas.
Have a buddy system for newcomers.
Established friendship groups can sometimes come across as cliquey and intimidating. A buddy system of pairing up a newcomer with an existing member is a good way of integrating them right from the start.
Be clear about kit and clothing.
Be clear about what kit is required (i.e. big baggy t-shirt for try dives) so that people know what to expect before turning up.
Remember, women feel the cold more than men.
Don’t overstretch the Try Dive time in the pool, particularly if your try diver is just in a swimming costume and big baggy t-shirt. A nice hot shower will go down well afterwards.
Communicate the wider benefits of our sport.
Many women worry about being judged if they’re not prioritising their children over themselves. Communicate the wider benefits of scuba diving such as mental wellbeing, fitness and stress relief, which will all contribute to being a better parent.
Follow up with any newcomers to congratulate them on their Try Dive.
A quick text message or email to inform them of the next club night and to say that you’re looking forward to seeing them there could make a massive difference for someone who is still apprehensive about committing to the club. Ideally it’s the member they were ‘buddied’ with on the night. Giving it a personal touch will make the person feel genuinely welcome and wanted at your club.
Join the online community.
Inviting your new female members to join your club’s Facebook Page, email list or Whatsapp group is a great way to keep them engaged with the club after their visit, hopefully encouraging them to come back again.