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New Report: Engaging More Women
When the League of American Bicyclists began the Women Bike program, our goal was to organize and elevate the conversation on how to get more women on bikes. Since its inception, we’ve granted more than $30,000 to community programs focused on women’s bicycling outreach and encouragement. We have convened four separate national events bringing together women leaders in the bike movement to share ideas and best practices and highlighted the best speakers in the country advocating for increased women’s participation in bicycling.
Our role at the League of American Bicyclists is to help drive the national conversation, and share out the amazing work happening in our local communities. So while the Advocacy Toolkits have provided great, practical advice for creating similar programs in your hometown, we felt that a dimension of the conversation, the one that asked “Why reach out to women?” was missing. Why is it important to have a specific outreach initiative focused on women? Are we that different? What role does gender play in the overall advocacy landscape? How can we address the nuances and cultural differences that play out in cities across the country, versus promoting a one size fits all approach to outreach and encouragement?
We looked closely at a program that has received our largest grant to date, Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) Women & Bicycles program. In 2013, we awarded WABA $15,000 to help establish Women & Bicycles. Our report analyzes data from a user survey conducted in December 2014, as well as offering input and analysis from Women & Bicycles founder Nelle Pierson and four participants in their Roll Model program.
This new report, "Engaging More Women in Bicycling" [download PDF], is designed for advocates interested in creating a successful women’s outreach and encouragement initiative in their community. In addition to some practical advice on how to design programs that are inclusive, culturally relevant and financially sustainable, we define some of the philosophical underpinnings of women-specific bike advocacy to help you make your case. We hope this report will make you feel ready to begin planning your own women’s outreach and encouragement initiative and confident explaining to others why reaching out to women is critical to building a bicycle-friendly America for everyone.