I think every female in sport faces challenges because of their gender. For me, the largest challenge is being on a male-dominated team. I have been the only female on the team for three years now and that creates challenges. Our team is also staffed by just males so it can feel a bit isolating at times.
I also believe that currently it is much easier to be a male on this team, you are afforded many more opportunities than the females. The team was originally structed around the needs and level of male skiers. Unfortunately, the structure has not evolved over the years so integrating women into the program has not happened. The structures and qualification criteria are based around male results and not female. This makes qualifying for certain events and races much harder for women holding them up to a higher standard than men and expecting them to do it with less support.
The changes must be made at a higher level including staffing decisions, there are many women who are just as qualified to hold positions in the program. This would help show younger female athletes not only can you compete yourself, but you can also aspire to work within the national team. Women need to be given the same opportunities and support as their male counterparts if we are expected to be just as successful. We are a small sport and to attract more women to the program they need to see other women being supported and successful to be motivated to pursue the sport at the highest level.