Extraordinary People

Here come the girls! How one woman is inspiring a new generation of female adventurers

Author Ailsa Ross has written a book to encourage girls to get out and discover the world around them

In an age of selfies and filters and aspiring to be reality TV stars, it’s good to know that there are some girls out there that know there are more important things in life than make-up or a designer handbag.

And it’s all thanks to author Ailsa Ross who has written a book for budding female adventurers who need to overcome their confidence hurdle in order to reach for the stars.

The Girl Who Rode a Shark: And Other Stories of Daring Women is a collection of biographies focused on women and girls who have written, explored, and made their mark on history.

From a Canadian astronaut to an Indian secret agent, Ross sets out to prove that being adventurous and discovering new horizons isn’t just for the boys.

Speaking to GoodNewsNetwork, she said: When I was a kid, in truth I was a bit of a scaredy cat. The ‘adventurer’ in my family has always been my big brother. He’s the one who’s a search and rescue pilot. He’s the one who’s climbed the tallest mountain in the Swiss Alps, in a snowstorm—for fun.⠀

“Still, I’m always trying to shake up the scaredy cat inside me. And I’ve always known how important it is for girls to feel brave as they grow up.”

And it’s the secondary school years that are the hardest, according to Girl Scouts developmental psychologist Dr Andrea Bastiani Archibald who said girls experience so much hesitancy and a drop in confidence from the age of 11 to 16.

Ross thinks they can overcome that if they’re encouraged to bring out their sense of adventure before they reach those important teenage years.

She said: “Such adventures don’t have to be big. Research from Anglia Ruskin University shows that even just going for a walk outside leaves people feeling more confident and better about their bodies.

“After all, nature doesn’t care about how we look. It doesn’t care who our friends are or the grades we got. It’s a place where we can really be ourselves.”

And that’s what her book sets out to do.

“I’m so glad readers can now trace the ocean-soaring flights of pilot Amelia Earhart, follow Isabella Bird’s expedition up the Yangtze River, and meet Kimi Werner—the freediving chef who hitched a ride on the dorsal fin of a great white shark,” she said. “I hope these stories help so many kids feel bold, and daring, and excited by the world.”

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