What will it really take to get female cycling racing to the same level of support, exposure etc etc etc as we have for men???????
The world has changed, is still changing, and cycling needs to catch up take an equal gender approach to what its doing, every minute of the day. Everyone will win, from individuals, to businesses, to the global sporting bodies.
The answer to the following questions is: YES!
Do C21st women have equal/high spending power?
Are we losing talent from the sport due to inequality? Are women interested in health, fitness and nutritional diet?
Do cycle and clothing companies cater specifically for women in their product ranges?
Are there female role models in the sport for others to aspire to?
Are there female ambassadors in cycling?
Do women have the time in their lives for cycling if they want to do it?
Are cycling companies using women in their marketing?
Is the improvement of road safety for all cyclists important to women?
Is women world cycle racing as exciting as the mens?
The answer to the following questions is: NO!
Does over-the-counter sports nutrition differentiate between mens and women needs in terms of dosage?
Do women get equal coverage in the cycling press?
Do women get the same choice of big, global races to participate in?
In the Pro-Peloton and teams, do women get the same treatment as men?
Is professional prize money, salaries and sponsorship equal for men and women?
Does the cycling trade and sports community tailor events at all levels to women needs as well as men?
Do the sponsors see women racing as a business opportunity equal to mens?
Are the consumer opportunities being maximised by businesses?
Do we have women in senior leadership roles in cycling governing bodies?
So who is going to lead the change? Well, its actually very easy. From a strategic point of view, we can start with the following:
Ensure equal pay in prize money and sponsorship in all cycling related roles.
Equal racing opportunities and events.
Equal coverage on TV etc.
Equal funding and focus on developing the pipeline of talent.
Maximise and differentiate both gender cycling products and services.
Pro-actively nominate and get women into senior leadership positions in the sport.
But wait a minute, there is hope as there is a women’s specific bike shop just opened up in York, UK (liv-cycling.com). In addition, a lot of the top manufacturers and clothing companies are starting to cater for women. But anyway, for those people out there with power and influence and who are willing to act as change agents to make cycling a gender equal place, do it now! Please.
Photos by Rodrigo Macip