On March 4th, 2013, timing around the National Bike Summit, the League of American Bicyclists are hosting the second annual National Women’s Bicycling Forum. I asked Carolyn, Director of Communications at the League of American Bicyclists, some follow up questions to learn more about what the League has planned for this Forum!
About the National Women’s Bicycling Forum
Join hundreds of fellow advocates and enthusiasts who are working to engage more women in bicycling at our next Women Bike event! Register now for the second annual National Women’s Bicycling Forum on March 4, 2013 in Washington, D.C.!
With a theme of “Women Mean Business,” this all-day event will showcase women leaders and entrepreneurs in the bicycle industry and highlight the economic impact and rising influence of women in the bicycle movement. (The Forum will end before the start of the National Bike Summit.)
With an opening keynote address from Georgena Terry, break-out sessions, lunch plenary, networking and so much more, the Women’s Forum will be an opportunity to learn, connect and network with advocates and leaders from across the country who are working to close the gender gap in American bicycling.
Both women AND men are encouraged to attend!
A Recap of the First National Women’s Bicycling Forum
Carolyn: The first National Women’s Bicycling Forum was really a toe in the water — it was a first attempt to bring the discussion about gender to the forefront and gauge the interest and trajectory of where that conversation could take us at the national level.
First, we tried to pour a number of different perspectives into a two-hour panel. With incredible speakers like Elysa Walk (GM of Giant Bicycle USA), Marla Streb (former world mountain bike champion) and Veronica Davis (founder of Black Women Bike DC) some incredible insight floated to the top — but it was crystal clear that tackling “women in bicycling” is NOT a single conversation. It’s an ocean of content!
Secondly, the response was a tidal wave. We packed the room with more than 300 people, all of whom were just buzzing with excitement and ideas and energy to keep the conversation going. So the take-away was simple: A two-hour forum is just the first drop in a really big bucket. In September, we expanded to a full-day event with more sessions with more specific content, like family biking and marketing to women. In 2013, we’re expanding and sustaining that effort with a full-time program, so we can compile and create new resources, share stories and work on targeted strategies to increase the number of women riding, in between these killer events.
What are the Main Reasons the League is Putting Energy into this Forum?
Carolyn: The Women Bike initiative is really part of a more big-picture effort by the League to change the face of bicycling — or better represent and include the voices of the many diverse communities and people who ride. Clearly, since we’re 50 percent of the population, we need to engage more women if we want to mainstream / normalize bicycling as a means of transportation (like we see in European countries) and recreation, too. And it’s not just about equity in numbers — our voices our powerful. Women are role models for the next generation, decision makers for their households, persuasive political constituencies and ingenious entrepreneurs. Bringing more women into all aspects of the bicycle movement, from lobbying on Capitol Hill to designing product at major bicycle manufactures, is in everyone’s best interests.
What is the Second Annual Forum Focused On?
Carolyn: The second annual National Women’s Bicycling Forum on March 4 in Washington, D.C. With a theme of “Women Mean Business,” we’re focusing on how the industry and retailers are working to close the gender gap and highlighting efforts that are changing the culture of cycling in new and innovative ways.