If you’re looking for a documentary about women in the outdoors, look no further than Women Outward Bound, from Minneapolis filmmaker, Maxine Davis.
The film details the very first Outward Bound wilderness school for girls. For many years, girls in the U.S. were not allowed to participate in these challenging outdoor expeditions. The great outdoors were seen as a place for men and boys. But in 1965, in northern Minnesota, a teenage Maxine Davis and 23 other girls set out into the wilderness with 4 women guides for a 4-week survival school comprised of training in canoeing, camping, and intense physical activity. This all culminated in a solitary overnight wilderness trip taken by each girl, where they were forced to fend for themselves, all alone in the wilderness.
47 years later, Davis reunited this group of women for a wilderness trip back to the very place where it all began, the Outward Bound school in Ely, Minnesota. The women shared gripping stories of how this experience in the summer of 1965 changed them, giving them skills in resilience, tenacity, and grit, as well as a lifelong love of wild places.
This moving film will give you goosebumps and even a bit of laughter, underscoring a truth that we already know: nature is for women and girls too. And while gender equality (in the wilderness and everywhere) has a long road ahead, Women Outward Bound shows just how much progress has been made by women in the outdoors over the past 50 years.
Buy the DVD directly (or ask your local library to purchase a copy if they don’t already have one), pop some popcorn, and watch it with all your favorite wilderness women and girls.
Photo credit: Women Outward Bound