Today is International Women’s Day – a celebration of the journey of women’s equality. It’s about where we have been, where we are, and the places we need to be. The places we must go.
In the cycling world, there are countless articles and conversations about women and bikes – how women need to be more represented in the cycling world. Why aren’t more women cycling? How do we get more women cycling?
I’m not sure. But I’ve learned a few things.
Through launching Penny in Yo’ Pants last summer, the team was witness to countless women sharing their experiences on the roads. Women were telling stories of harassment – wearing a skirt or not. Of not being taken seriously. While the bike can be liberating, it can make women feel vulnerable and open in a way that is anything but. The road seems to be a stage for where our inequalities play out.
But there is hope. Through Penny in Yo’ Pants, we have gotten to know Shannon Galpin and the women’s cycling team in Afghanistan. These women are putting their lives at risk and challenging gender barriers for the love of cycling. Their story is so inspiring that young girls in the country and getting on their bikes and pedaling. Pedaling is powerful.
I realise cycling is a very small part of our journey to equality. With issues of violence against women, lack of education, lack of adequate maternity leave, maternal death, unequal pay, among many other things – cycling is a small action.
But it’s a start.
Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel…the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. Susan B. Anthony
I wish every woman to pedal in whatever way she can – in the park, on the way to work, on a Sunday afternoon, in a race. I want you to cycle so you feel strong. I want you to feel the independence of the road and the possibility of the day. I want you to forget your dress size and appreciate the power of your thighs. I want you to feel the wind in your hair. I wish you the best downhills where you catch yourself laughing because it feels so right.
I wish you safe travels and many adventures. It’s a start.