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Naomi Edwards

Naomi Edwards
PhD Student, Griffith University

Naomi Edwards is a disrupter of institutions. As young woman negotiating the contested terrain of decision-making circles, she researches institutional leadership and change, the cultures and conflicts of coastal professionals at Griffith University. Instead of collecting surfboards, she collects boards and committees, and is a highly-regarded representative among surf, coastal and natural resource management networks, from the grassroots of her home town on the Gold Coast to Australia-wide. She holds degrees and post-graduate studies in environmental science, humanities and international community development, and has cross-sectoral experience in research, non-for-profit and for-profit enterprises. She is a leader for sustainability fellow from the United Nations University, and in 2016 was awarded as a National Young Landcare champion and ambassador for her commitment to social inclusion and the environment.

Presentation Title: Beyond the Crowded Waves: The Marginalisation of Women in Surf Management Boards
Presentation Day: Tuesday 14th March
Presentation Time: 3.20 - 3.40pm

Abstract
Headlines about women’s representation in surfing have helped to stimulate a discussion about gender equality in the one of the world’s largest recreational and professional lifestyle sports. Yet headlines about women representation in surf management have up until now been silent. Yet women have been forerunners in coastal and ocean science and ecology with Ellen Swallow’s and Rachel Carson’s historic research founding the contemporary environmental movement. In surfing, women have been similarly active in leadership roles. In Australia, Isabel Letham and Layne Beachley have had a large influence in the greater inclusion and visibility of women as participants and leaders in surf-related organisations. Despite such pioneers, women’s voices continue to be marginalised in surf management. In this presentation, we will present evidence and narratives regarding the continued lack of visibility and inclusion of women (and other others) in decision making processes in surf management. First, we will present data relating to the very limited representation of women on boards related to surf management at international, national (Australia) and local (Gold Coast) levels. We will then examine this data in relation to broader contexts of gender power relations in surfing culture and coastal management, where women’s contributions are growing in explicit and implicit ways. Key to this presentation is the argument for the need to include more diverse voices in what continues to be a male-dominated area. As two women in surfing culture, management and research, the intention of this presentation is to stimulate a discussion about women’s participation in decision-making and leadership relating to surfing places, and to move towards sustainable surfing futures that will truly represent the diversity of surfing and other coastal participants.

Co-author
Dr Rebecca Olive, Lecturer, University of Queensland