Whether on snow, dirt, asphalt or sand, women are participating in powersports more than ever before and helping to expand and diversify the industry. To champion and sustain this growth, Polaris has created the Empowersports Women’s Riding Council, made of 12 powerful women from all backgrounds to uplift the passions that fuel women and put forth deliberate efforts for increased representation, inclusion and participation of women in powersports.
“For over 65 years, Polaris has created new ways to connect riders with the outdoors on all terrains, and we are committed to inviting more people to join powersports for work and for play,” said Polaris Chief Customer Engagement and Growth Officer Pam Kermisch. “We are so honored to have these trailblazing women join in this initiative, not only to inspire and empower more adventure-inclined women to enter the space, but also to lead industry improvements for the women already immersed in powersports culture.”
The Empowersports Women’s Riding Council is composed of distinguished women who are riders, adventurers, leaders and entrepreneurs who bring unique perspectives and insights to the powersports space. They are champions for advocacy, empowering women, building community, sparking adventure and fostering safety. They include:
Michelle Barraza — RZR Racer
Carrie Barton — Klim & Timbersled Brand Ambassador, Dirt Bike Racer & Tour of Idaho Finisher
Julie-Ann Chapman — She Shreds Mountain Adventures Founder & Professional Snowmobiler, Team Polaris Athlete
Amy David — Professional Mountain Athlete, Skier, Guide, Polaris Snowmobile Ambassador & Content Creator
Gevin Fax — Actor, Musician, Educator & Speakers Bureau Ambassador
Vicki Gray — International Female Ride Day® & Motoress.com Founder, Road & Race Instructor
Lisa Lockhart — Rodeo Champion, Rancher & Polaris Ranger Ambassador
Kristen Matlock — Professional RZR racer & SCORE Baja 1000 Champ
Jody Perewitz — Racer & Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Famer
Porsche Taylor — Black Girls Ride Magazine Founder And Cross-Country Rider
Jolene Van Vugt — Stuntwoman, Nitro Circus Action Sports Athlete, Canadian Woman’s National Motocross Champion & RZR Ambassador
Kelly Yazdi — Wild Gypsy Tour Creator, Polaris Adventures Ambassador, Actor & Host
“I am honored and thrilled to join my fellow council members in this movement to champion self-empowerment, community, adventure and safety,” Matlock said. “For me, riding is a form of expression and freedom that every woman should get the chance to experience. Women have always been a force within the world of powersports, but we haven’t always been a part of the narrative. This council allows us to tell our stories and provide our perspectives our way.”
The Empowersports Women’s Riding Council will meet regularly with Polaris leaders to discuss breaking down barriers including increasing diverse female representation, vehicle and gear considerations, safety practices, combating biases and demystifying the sport for more women.
Polaris’ Focus on Customer Growth
The creation of the Empowersports Women’s Riding Council is part of Polaris’ broader growth initiative, which aims to grow their customer base by nearly 50% over the next 10 years through introducing new customers to Polaris and continuing their commitment to supporting diverse riders. During its second quarter the company saw an influx of new riders with nearly 75% of off-road and motorcycle buyers being new to Polaris, fueled by significant increases with women and families as well as younger and multicultural customers.
The increasing presence of women in powersports is an industry-wide trend. Female motorcycle ownership has doubled in the last decade, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council. With a 2018 MRI-Simmons survey showing nearly half of all off-road vehicle-owning households having women in them and Black women outnumbering their male counterparts in snowmobiling by 61%, Polaris is focused on sustaining and growing this movement in a way that uplifts both new and experienced female riders.
“As the leader in our industry, we have a responsibility to ensure diverse voices in the powersports space are heard to drive action and make the industry even stronger,” Kermisch said. “While we are proud of the efforts made thus far, we also recognize there is room for improvement. We look forward to having these honest conversations and instilling actionable change, so all women feel empowered, no matter the terrain or vehicle.”
As Polaris continues to see record numbers of new customers and a more diverse mix of customers, the company has committed to creating an inviting, inclusive experience for new Polaris riders. Polaris is proud to partner with organizations that align with this mission, such as Black Girls Ride, Outdoor Women, Wild Gypsy Tour, International Female Ride Day and Women Riders World Relay.