More than 550 participants joined the launch event for Women in Cycling, a new network aiming to help women get more visibility, impact, and leading roles in the cycling sector
The network, which was launched virtually on February 24, 2021, is an initiative by the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF), Cycling Industries Europe, Velokonzept, Mobycon and CONEBI. Present at the launch event, ECF’s Florence Grégoire underlined the need for collaboration, “It is important that we overlook competition and support each other. Women working in NGOs, in the industry, in bike shops, in planning, everyone affiliated with the cycling sector is welcome to join the Women in Cycling network.”
With the rapid change in urban mobility and the double-digit growth of cycling in many cities in Europe and across the world, enabling greater gender balance in the cycling sector is key to boosting cycling levels beyond the current surge.
The vision of Women in Cycling is for a diverse, inclusive cycling sector that provides equal opportunities and contributes to achieving cycling’s full potential.
“Inclusivity is one of our core values. We envision an open and diverse group with various lived experiences, a diversity of backgrounds, various positions, and countries of origins. When we say women, we want to include transgender and non-binary people,” said Gregoire.
To fulfill this vision, Women in Cycling aims to:
At the launch event, women active in various spheres of the cycling sector shared their empowering experiences. Bonnie Tu, Chairperson of Giant and CEO of Liv, gave a compelling opening address, sharing her story of heading up one of the world’s largest bicycle brands and launching a bicycle brand exclusively for women. “As I am a woman in this industry, it is my responsibility and my dream to encourage more women in the cycling industry and to encourage more women to cycle,” said Tu, one of the industry’s most senior figures.
“The reason I started my Liv brand is because I want more women on bikes. I could not find a suitable bike at that moment of time, and I even had to wear a men’s jersey. This was unfair, and I was determined to change this scenario. As half of the world population, we are entitled to enjoy sports cycling,” she said.
Monika Sattler, an endurance cyclist and the first woman to cycle La Vuelta, said she wants to inspire more women to ride their bikes, “not only to ride bikes but to push boundaries, to push limits and maybe to do something that seems impossible to do.”
Susanne Puello, CEO of Pexco, praised the bravery of women, which “has proven that we can change the world with different ideas,” while Sarika Panda Bhatt of Raahgiri Day, India’s first car-free day campaign, said it was about how to increase cycling for women and enable their commute to their workplace.
“Because then we realize how cycling makes you independent and flexible to move around in your city,” said Bhatt.
The Expertise Portal puts a spotlight on female mobility experts. The platform seeks to facilitate a higher presence of women on boards and in panels, conferences, media interviews and jobs. Women interested can sign up with their LinkedIn profile. The portal also provides conference and event organizers with a platform to find female speakers and experts, and profiles can be filtered according to areas of expertise.
Since its launch, women have used the portal to propose wider networking opportunities, and suggest ideas for workshops, webinars and other events. Lauha Fried, said she and the other founding members would be meeting very soon to discuss governance and the next steps to be taken by Women in Cycling.
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) welcomes the initiative, which is in line with the International Federation’s work to improve conditions for women riders – with the introduction of a minimum salary, maximum number of days of racing, sickness cover, maternity cover, life insurance, and increased prize money – and increase the percentage of women in the sport’s governance.
UCI Director General Amina Lanaya said, “as the first woman Director General of the UCI, I fully support the Women In Cycling initiative. At the UCI we have adjusted our Constitution to ensure better representation of women in our governing bodies worldwide, and at our head office in Aigle, Switzerland, we now have EDGE certification for workplace gender equality. The mobilization of so many women under the Women In Cycling initiative will be great support for the work we are trying to achieve at the UCI.”
UCI Advocacy and Development Manager, Isabella Burczak added, “the bicycle is the perfect tool to promote accessibility, diversity, inclusion, and a more sustainable future for all. I’m therefore delighted to play a part within the cycling family to build a strong and supportive network, ensuring that women working within the cycling industry can reach their full potential.”
Use the hashtag #WomenInCycling on social media to show the growing power of this network. Join our LinkedIn group for more discussions around this topic and start engaging with women from all over the world.
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