Cycling's gender gap

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Cycling's gender gap

Postby CommuRider » Thu Jun 30, 2011 12:17 pm

Good debate going on here

http://www.grist.org/biking/2011-06-20- ... omy-stupid

A widely cited 2009 study found that women are more likely to choose to ride on quiet residential streets, while men are more likely to choose direct routes even if they have heavier traffic. Women are an "indicator species" for cycling, this study concludes, and that cities can cajole greater women ridership by building safer-feeling bike infrastructure.

Much is also made of another concern women often express in surveys -- that cycling to work will impede our ability to conform to professional norms in clothing, makeup, and hairstyles. The response can be seen in the proliferation of the "Cycle Chic" brand, tweed rides, and the commingling of bicycling and high fashion in advertising.

There's plenty of truth in both the fear and fashion theories. But before we commit to blaming women's transportation practices on our timidity and vanity, I think it's worth looking at some other potential factors.

Like the economy.

Women are more likely than men to be poor. We still don't earn equal pay -- as recently as 2009, women made 77 cents for each dollar earned by men doing equivalent work. Other factors range from the kind of work available to women to hiring bias against pregnant women and mothers.

Despite the economy of bicycle transportation, households with lower incomes are less likely to have access to bikes. Barriers to bicycling include the cost of bicycle purchase when all one's transportation dollars are tied up in a car, cultural barriers such as perception and police profiling, and lack of access to safe infrastructure in neighborhoods with low housing costs.

Another barrier: Bicycling takes time. And this is something that, by the numbers, women have less of than men. In 2004, employed women reported an average of one more hour of housework per day than their employed male counterparts. These same employed women reported twice the time spent caring for young children. Employment status being equal, we have more household duties and are far more likely than men to be caregivers for aging relatives.

These kinds of responsibilities add up to more complicated transportation needs. Women make more trips than men, with diverse kinds of trips chained together. And twice as many trips as men's are at the service of passengers -- that is to say, the school drop-off, soccer practice, and the play date wedged in there between the grocery run and the commute to work (see pages 15 and 16 of this paper). No wonder the minivan is inextricably linked with motherhood in America.

We can hope that one day none of these duties will be tied to gender. Until then, statistically, if you're a woman, biking is going to be less accessible to you than for your statistical male counterpart.
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by BNA » Wed Jul 06, 2011 10:45 am

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Re: Cycling's gender gap

Postby activemum » Wed Jul 06, 2011 10:45 am

Thanks for the post. We have come a long way towards equal pay/rights/status of women, but still have a long way to go.

One of the perks of the cycling gender gap is that during large cycling events (such as Around the Bay) the queue at the womens loos is much shorter than the mens! I'm not complaining about that! :)
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Re: Cycling's gender gap

Postby Christine Tham » Wed Jul 06, 2011 7:04 pm

This doesn't make sense to me. Women earn less, therefore they are less likely to ride?

Price of bike compared to car - doesn't that mean more women should be cycling?

As for women carrying passengers, why would that prevent someone from riding a bike for fitness/leisure or to do shopping?

I think the fashion argument makes more sense to me. I don't like helmet hair and sweat infused clothes, and that often prevents me from doing some types of trips.
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Re: Cycling's gender gap

Postby winstonw » Wed Jul 06, 2011 9:43 pm

activemum wrote:Thanks for the post. We have come a long way towards equal pay/rights/status of women, but still have a long way to go.

One of the perks of the cycling gender gap is that during large cycling events (such as Around the Bay) the queue at the womens loos is much shorter than the mens! I'm not complaining about that! :)


Tell me about it. At the recent Brissie to Bay ride (4500 riders), around 75-80% were males, and the organizers had allocated half the toilets to females, and the queue reflected it.
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Re: Cycling's gender gap

Postby Kraeg » Wed Jul 06, 2011 10:06 pm

Toilets as in the port-a-loo type? At festivals, events, etc, I've never seen them allocated to genders; anyone can use them.
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Re: Cycling's gender gap

Postby winstonw » Wed Jul 06, 2011 10:21 pm

Kraeg wrote:Toilets as in the port-a-loo type? At festivals, events, etc, I've never seen them allocated to genders; anyone can use them.


Well some officious do gooder had gone along and plastered large official "male" or
"female" stickers on the doors of all the port a loos.
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Re: Cycling's gender gap

Postby Max » Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:43 am

winstonw wrote:
Kraeg wrote:Toilets as in the port-a-loo type? At festivals, events, etc, I've never seen them allocated to genders; anyone can use them.


Well some officious do gooder had gone along and plastered large official "male" or
"female" stickers on the doors of all the port a loos.


:roll: If my bladder's exploding, my care factor for that sort of signage is less than zero!

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Re: Cycling's gender gap

Postby Christine Tham » Thu Jul 07, 2011 5:43 pm

Max wrote:
:roll: If my bladder's exploding, my care factor for that sort of signage is less than zero!


LOL

Once I was so desperate, I rushed in the nearest toilet door, did my business, came out of cubicle, remarked to myself "since when did they put male style urinals in the female toilets?"

shrugged ...

walked out

and 1 or 2 guys were respectfully waiting outside the male toilet - they saw me rush in, and decided to wait for me to come out again.

nice of them!
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Re: Cycling's gender gap

Postby eeksll » Sat Jul 09, 2011 7:47 pm

Max wrote::roll: If my bladder's exploding, my care factor for that sort of signage is less than zero!
Max


Some females don't care if its a urinal or toilet either, if my experiences at big day outs are anything to go by.
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Re: Cycling's gender gap

Postby Old and Rusty » Sun Jul 10, 2011 6:54 pm

eeksll wrote:
Max wrote::roll: If my bladder's exploding, my care factor for that sort of signage is less than zero!
Max


Some females don't care if its a urinal or toilet either, if my experiences at big day outs are anything to go by.


Or nightclub toilets along Oxford St, been some really odd moments during my clubbing days....
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Re: Cycling's gender gap

Postby activemum » Tue Jul 19, 2011 11:08 pm

The loos I was referring to were public toilets at Sorrento, allocated Male and Female.

But I think this post was originally about the cycling gender gap, not loos. :)
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