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For more than 50 years, The North Face has empowered people to push boundaries in the outdoors. Now, the brand is acknowledging that they need to do more to create more role models for young girls and develop the next generation of amazing women explorers.
“We know better than anyone that there are plenty of women out there who are already accomplishing incredible, inspiring things every day. Yet women and girls don’t see themselves represented as ‘explorers’,” said Tom Herbst, global vice president of marketing at The North Face. “We had a simple theory that if women and girls see more role models in exploration, it will create more female role models for future generations.”
The North Face is part of the Camber Outdoors’ CEO Pledge community, committed to women’s leadership as a strategic and visible business imperative. Camber Executive Director Deanne Buck said The North Face has gone above and beyond investing in the organization’s vision.
“I love that they have a broad representation of women,” Buck said about the new “Move Mountains” campaign. “I think that they’re a thought leader in the outdoor industry and even beyond the industry. Their visible commitment to making sure that women are front and center is a strong stance and it’s brave because what they’re also doing is acknowledging that there’s opportunity for them to do better.”
Buck said Camber research shows how much of an impact role models have on others: Having people of color and a range of ages helps people, especially youth, visualize themselves in the outdoor space rather than imagining it.
“It’s a great way to start to hopefully bring the outdoors and passion for the outdoors to a larger swath of people,” Buck said.
Here are six ways The North Face is empowering women:
- On Tuesday, The North Face launched its global “Move Mountains” campaign to sharing the stories of the company’s female athletes and other women pushing boundaries, including alpinist Hilaree Nelson O’Neill, climbers Ashima Shiraishi and Margo Hayes, ultrarunner Fernanda Maciel, aerospace engineer Tiera Fletcher, musician and activist Madame Gandhi, and actress America Ferrera.
- The North Face is inviting female explorers to post black-and-white photos of their role models on Instagram with the hashtag #SheMovesMountains by April 31. Select submissions will be featured in a public art piece in New York City this summer.
- Through a partnership with Girls Scouts of the USA, The North Face is helping to create 12 outdoor adventure badges with programs in mountaineering, climbing, backpacking, hiking, and trail running. The initiative is expected to roll out over the next two years to help girls of all ages realize their leadership potential while also increasing the visibility of female role models for girls across the nation.
- Women can expect more products by the brand, beginning with new tights and bras, reinvented through compression, core support, and vision science. New styles and silhouettes will be available this month in-store and online, including Contoured Tech High-Rise Tights and the Beyond the Wall Free Motion Bra.
- Two women-specific stores are set to open later this year. The first in Edina, Minnesota focuses on running and training apparel. The second in San Francisco will carry all different categories.
- A $250,000 annual grant program enabling female exploration will honor Ann Krcik, a long-time leader at The North Face and one of the founder of Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition, now Camber Outdoors. The grant is a piece of the Explore Fund Grants, growing to $750,000.
Read OBJ Editor-in-chief Kristin Hostetter’s tribute to Ann Krcik, who recently received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Camber Outdoors for her broad and lasting impact on the outdoor industry, and passed away after a long battle with cancer.