Attend the National Women Cycling Forum
By Carolyn S on February 02, 2012
It was a day or two into the 2010 Alliance Leadership Retreat when Alexis Lantz stood up during lunch. The Planning and Policy Director from Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition had a proposal that energized every female leader in the room: The convening of a Women’s Caucus (pictured above).
That gathering at the Leadership Retreat was short, informal — and incredibly inspiring. There was so much to talk about: issues we face as women within our own organizations and the broader movement; how we increase the number of women in bicycle advocacy and boost female mode share out on the streets; how we stay better connected in the time between retreats and summits, building community and sharing ideas to deal with collective challenges and opportunities.
The Women’s Caucus carved out just a tiny window within the tight schedule of dozens of other sessions, but, at least speaking for myself, it was the most powerful and memorable moment from the entire weekend. With little time to develop specific next steps, we had to keep the outcome simple. The main consensus: Let’s keep the conversation going.
We knew we weren’t the only ones talking about these issues. Shortly before the Leadership Retreat, in mid-2010, the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals conducted a Women Cycling Survey — and participation was through the roof. More than 11,000 women in the U.S. shared all sorts of information about why they bike, what would make them bike more and a wealth of other opinions and experiences. The insight gained from the (non-scientific) survey was not only revelatory; it was also an incredible spark for a lively discussion at conferences and online.
Clearly, women want to talk about bicycling. And our voices are getting more numerous and more prominent.
According to the Alliance 2012 Benchmarking Report, women are still vastly outnumbered by men, accounting for just 24 percent of bike trips in 2009. But that trend is shifting. A growing number of women from all backgrounds and communities are beginning to ride and getting more involved in the bicycle movement. As female leaders and cyclists, we’re eager to learn from our peers, share our experiences and explore ideas to engage more women.
So, like we said at the Leadership Retreat, let’s continue the conversation. Attend the first-ever National Women Cycling Forum on March 20, 2012 from 2-4 p.m. at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC.
Hosted by the Alliance and APBP, this forum will provide insight from a diverse panel of women in bicycle advocacy, engineering, government and industry. It will foster collective discussion about best practices, creative ideas and potential next steps in addressing the pervasive gender cycling gap at a national and local level. And it will invite input on the Women Cycling Project—a joint effort of the Alliance and APBP to create a new, interactive, online presence for women cyclists and advocates.
This event will be held in conjunction with the 2012 National Bike Summit—and your presence at this annual event has never been more important. Congress is making important and long-term decisions about the next federal transportation bill and women’s voices and stories are essential to preserving billions in funding for bicycling projects and programs across the country. We’re on the brink of losing the hard-fought progress of the past 20 years and we need a HUGE turn-out at this year’s summit. (Register by February 20 to save $100.)
When you make your DC travel plans, make sure you arrive in time for the National Women Cycling Forum on Tuesday, March 20 from 2 to 4 p.m. This event is open to all interested attendees—both women and men. Sign up for the Forum here, so you’ll get all the details in coming weeks, including the line-up of panelists. And, please, start sharing the link as widely as possible!
Plus, mark your calendars for a Women Cycling Social on Wednesday, March 21 from 6 - 8 p.m. at Busboys and Poets, a very cool venue just a few blocks from the Summit hotel. Stay tuned for details.
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