Where are all the women?

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Bearbonesnorm
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Where are all the women?

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:45 pm

Moving forward from the topic deviation on the BaM thread, I thought we might retire here to further discuss the topics raised ... anyone not up to speed can pop across there, have a look and we'll wait for you.

I've been up some ladders painting a ceiling all afternoon and we all know that ladders = thinking. It appears that the growing popularity of cycling is doing wonders with regard to women getting involved. For some reason or another that escapes me, bikepacking is also on the up, yet it seems very few women are joining the ranks - why?

Is it simply the natural order of things? The perceived and sometimes real threat of prolonged discomfort? The fear of strangers / assault? Is it even a problem - you can't and shouldn't force people to do things they don't want to.

Are the 'bikepacking ambassadors' failing in their quest to encourage and inspire women? Why won't your wife / girlfriend / partner / whatever go? Do we need a different approach to attract women out into the hills?

As you can see, the ladders are the 'ladders of questions' not answers.
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benp1
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Re: Where are all the women?

Post by benp1 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:04 pm

Cycling in general is quite male oriented

Anecdotally, none of the female members of my wider family, not any of my wife’s friends are into cycling

Male members in my circle aren’t exactly brimming but they’re certainly more game for time outdoors getting mucky

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Re: Where are all the women?

Post by RIP » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:08 pm

"topic deviation" - ahem, yes sorry about that ;-). Ta for raising its profile onto here. Borderer's right, it's an important subject. I'm aware that it strikes to the heart of many issues, although with a bit of luck we might be able to keep the bikepacking angle to it.
Last edited by RIP on Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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benp1
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Re: Where are all the women?

Post by benp1 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:08 pm

I should also point out that I’m happy going out on my own locally ie a night ride

She is not keen on doing something similar (though it would be a run, not a cycle ride). Happier if she has the dog with her, but still wouldn’t do it.

Unfortunately, I think that’s a sensible idea. I live in an urban environement with more people and more goings on. Not sure if it would be different in the country...

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Re: Where are all the women?

Post by Chew » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:42 pm

As Bobs already stated, its just a numbers thing.
How many men do I know who ride bikes? Loads
How many women do I know who ride bikes? Very few
Its just one of those things an it wont change. Trying to get any of the girls in the club to partake in this winters rollers league is impossible.
I'm sure there are many instances where things are reversed.

Whilst i'd never try and belittle and of the 'risks' stated over in the other thread, they are just out of proportion. I cant remember the exact number, but its something like 90% of people who Murdered/Assaulted/Raped/etc are victims of someone who knows them. Its the probability/outcome mix that us as humans overreact to. (its like the risk surrounded by Smoking vs Nuclear power)
The more you're out in the middle of nowhere the lower those risks are.

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Re: Where are all the women?

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:51 pm

Not sure if it would be different in the country...
Think it largely depends what you're used to Ben. If you're brought up in a highly populated area, the open, quiet and dark places can bring their own anxieties and fears.

I honestly believe that fear breeds fear - just like my mum believes (after too much breakfast TV) that every phone call or email she receives is a Russian mafia scam.

As Chew says, it's probably just a numbers game. Maybe somewhere there's a post on a horse riding / hockey / netball forum entitled 'where are all the men?'
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Re: Where are all the women?

Post by Borderer » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:53 pm

I am in southern Scotland. If any other women reading this would like to go for a ride sometime then please send me a message. My son (13) would come along too.

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Re: Where are all the women?

Post by pistonbroke » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:55 pm

I've finally talked MrsPB into doing a trip at Easter next year. We're doing the GR247 in Andalucia, 300km in 4 days, but this is on the basis that the route passes 11 refugios (bothies) so we won't be at the mercy of the March weather or passing wild boar. I found it in an article on Bikepacking.com http://www.bikepacking.com/routes/gr247-spain/
and slightly worryingly this video from February last year. https://youtu.be/41U5g24Srbo
She's bought some gas powered hair straighteners on the strength of it, i kid you not!
The thing she's most regularly cited as an objection to bikepacking is the hygiene/washing in a puddle thing but a recent visit by a couple from Holmfirth who had been on the road since August seems to have changed her mind.
Last edited by pistonbroke on Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Fat tyre kicker
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Re: Where are all the women?

Post by Fat tyre kicker » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:01 pm

I know there's quite a healthy ladies contingent in the Northern RSF group :-bd

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Re: Where are all the women?

Post by Borderer » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:05 pm

Just a reminder that the discussion on the BAM thread starts on page 24 and continues to page 25.
It appears that some folk haven't read the comments on page 24. :P

That sounds good pistonbroke. Should be warmer than here any rate.

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Re: Where are all the women?

Post by Trail-rat » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:27 pm

wife rides

wife tours

wife doesnt do internet outside of facebook and work related sub standard

so doesnt see group rides , doesnt post photos , doesnt write articles or blog posts.... she just gets on with it when the time comes :D

but what i can tell you is by connection through the wife there is quite a number of local ladys who ride bikes and tour they just dont shout about it ..... id imagine its a visibility thing that your not seeing them.

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Richard G
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Re: Where are all the women?

Post by Richard G » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:42 pm

Aside from the bearboners, I don't actually know a single female cyclist. It's a shame really.

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whitestone
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Re: Where are all the women?

Post by whitestone » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:58 pm

I did a bit more checking on numbers in fell running. Generally in all the youth races (there are several age categories) that I looked at, the number of female entrants was around 50%. Obviously the numbers aren't huge - the biggest field was around 70 - but the proportions are fairly consistent. Move to the senior races and that 50% drops to 12-14%. Unfortunately there's no figures for under 25s so there's a distinct possibility that all the old bald headed blokes are skewing the figures. In 20 years time we might see the current crop of youngsters resulting in a male - female ratio more representative of the general population.

OK, back to bikepacking.

We went for a bivy last week, it happened to be one of the coldest nights of the winter so far. Work colleagues were shocked that I, as a hairy outdoor type of block, would choose to sleep outside at this time of year. If there's that attitude to men heading out then it's going to be much worse for women. I didn't tell them my wife was with me. Cath will head out on her own for a ride but we will do local bivvies together though that's as much us doing things together rather than me acting as guardian/protector.

To a large degree many people these days are pretty isolated from nature and it's not something that they feel comfortable interacting with - watching CountryFile is about as far as they go.

Is the washing/hygiene thing a by-product of the obsession with having your house cleaner than an operating theatre? :grin:

@Richard G: There's quite a few ladies in our road cycling club in fact the president and secretary are both women.
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Alpinum
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Re: Where are all the women?

Post by Alpinum » Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:26 pm

Bearbonesnorm wrote:Why won't your wife / girlfriend / partner / whatever go?
My girlfriend does. Not into riding slightly hurried like I do every couple of years but we spend a fair amount on our bikes on long holidays. That's mountainbikes, not road.
Also in winter without a tent at beyond -20 °C.

Our next holidays seems to take us to Iceland bikepacking. Her idea.
There might not be many like her but all my friends have girlfriends who initiate similar trips just as much as the lads.

But yes, I get where you're coming from. Sure some anthropologist comes up with what we all can think of too...
And I also see a difference in where you live. Mountain lovers not often hide away in cities. That said, the outdoorsy women I know live or want to live out in the sticks.

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summittoppler
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Re: Where are all the women?

Post by summittoppler » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:02 pm

I've tried tempting my Mrs out for a gentle bivvy ride but she's having none of it. Despite my thoughts of making use of a great bivvy spot in Anglesey overlooking the sea, her thoughts of a night away are a 4 star hotel. I think she see's it as a 'waste' of a kid-sitter if we go. I have dragged her out for the very odd short ride though but its just not her thing. She calls it my bike sh!t.
However I will keep trying.......... :-bd

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Re: Where are all the women?

Post by mechanicaldope » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:04 pm

Aside from the increased risk, I would bet that the activities that you partook in as a child/teenager also have a massive baring on your adult ideas of fun. I am 37 and it was only as I was leaving scouts that they started to admit girls. None of the women I know that went to Guides had anything like the 'survival' skills we were taught. If you had never done this, even as a kid, the idea of going into the middle of nowhere and giving it ago must seem crazy. I would bet that at least 98% of people on here did adventurous camping things when younger. Hopefully now that girls are allowed to join Scouts and similar more will be exposed to the fun of freezing your arse off up a mountain in Wales and will want to continue to do so as they get older.

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Re: Where are all the women?

Post by whitestone » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:23 pm

That's a good point. We are currently seeing the product of the societal norms of thirty or more years ago. At school it was expected that we head out and do things in the outdoors - the only child I remember being excused from PE/Games had spina bifida which is entirely understandable.

Look at your parents and what they were doing at your age and there's been a similar ground shift. I'm 58, at that age both my parents were on their last legs after a lifetime of physical work. Neither did anything adventurous in their spare time. Most of that era behaved similarly once they got to their forties.

Any uptake now in sports by teenagers will only become apparent in another twenty or thirty years.
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Borderer
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Re: Where are all the women?

Post by Borderer » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:30 pm

True. So we should all be taking the kids out in the wilds with us then?

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Re: Where are all the women?

Post by htrider » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:33 pm

Trail centres? always seems to be plenty of women riding there the odd times I go. I suspect there are more going bikepacking that we think, they just don't post on here!

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Re: Where are all the women?

Post by whitestone » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:33 pm

Borderer wrote:True. So we should all be taking the kids out in the wilds with us then?
From your reports you seem to be doing fine :-bd

We've no kids so short of kidnapping* some to fulfill the brief it's not something we can contribute to. :|

* Just, err, kidding.
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Re: Where are all the women?

Post by Dave Barter » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:56 pm

My wife has taken tentative steps, she is a regular cyclist but the super heros mean nothing to her. There's been an explosion in women cycling around Swindon lead by normal ladies doing semi-normal things on bikes, most of them happy with a social ride and some cake rather than nailing it to the max. If Helen saw more of her peer group going bike packing then I'm sure she would. The semi-pros probably intimidate her more than inspire.

I convinced her to go walk-bivying last NYE and she loved it. I'm working up to a bike trip next.

But based on the Swindon experience it feels to me like it needs a critical mass of normal girls to set it into motion big time.
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Richard G
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Re: Where are all the women?

Post by Richard G » Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:43 pm

whitestone wrote:@Richard G: There's quite a few ladies in our road cycling club in fact the president and secretary are both women.
I can see why it would be more popular with women than mountain biking, that's for sure!

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Re: Where are all the women?

Post by johnb » Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:48 pm

whitestone wrote:
Borderer wrote:True. So we should all be taking the kids out in the wilds with us then?
From your reports you seem to be doing fine :-bd

We've no kids so short of kidnapping* some to fulfill the brief it's not something we can contribute to. :|

* Just, err, kidding.
I think you will find there are plenty of parents that will offer there neighbors kids up for kidnapping.........and secretly there own but by PM only!!
Not kidding.....kidding!!!

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Re: Where are all the women?

Post by summittoppler » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:26 am

Borderer wrote:True. So we should all be taking the kids out in the wilds with us then?
tbh, as a kid myself my old man used to take me out on hikes around Snowdonia followed by a wild camp here and there (30-35 years ago). That's had an immense effect on me as a person as I now enjoy the outdoors in that way too. In the last 7 years I've took my 3 boys wild camping and they love it. They are now 11, 12 & 14 and bearing in mind I've took my middle child out wild camping whilst he was under treatment for Leukeamia so that meant taking meds with us.

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Re: Where are all the women?

Post by PaulE » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:56 am

Borderer wrote:True. So we should all be taking the kids out in the wilds with us then?
Absolutely! Main reason I volunteer for Duke of Edinburgh award scheme at school is to get kids into the outdoors. Last year, we had 16 girls and 4 boys on the bronze award, and equal numbers at silver so there is some progress on that front.

I'm currently looking for a new 2+ man tent so I can take my daughter out into the wilds - only problem is that she's wanting to go next weekend and I think it might be a bit cold for a 4 year old! She's been coming along on D of E weekends since she was 2, and loves it. Currently trying to work out of we can manage a mini-bikepacking trip in the spring using her trailer bike
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