League of American Bicyclists: Women & Equity Survey

By : Lowrah · April 10, 2013

Women & Equity Survey

The League of American Bicyclists recently launched a Women Bike program for the purpose of "empowering, engaging and elevating more women to get on a bike and ride, as well as influence the bike advocacy world." The League has also formed the Equity Advisory Council charged with "guiding the organization’s efforts to become a model for equity, diversity and inclusivity both in its internal and external programming."

To help these two initiatives along, the League has asked organizations fill out our brief, online survey by April 12th.

  • Identify initiatives related to equity and women around the country
  • Understand what resources would be helpful to YOU as we move forward
  • Benchmark key demographics among cycling organizations currently

What do you do to promote gender parity in cycling?

Grease Rag's mission is to encourage and empower women/ trans/ femme (WTF) cyclists in a collaborative and fun learning environment through rides, discussions, shop nights and educational seminars in a safer space.

Our goal is to provide a space for women, transgender and gender queer cyclists to create a community.  We have potlucks, bike rides, craft nights, bonfires, and bike camping trips, in addition to our open shop nights where WTF cyclists can come into a bike shop and use our tools and collective knowledge to fix their bikes for free.

90% of our events are aimed at being social, for beginner riding levels, and are WTF only for the purpose of building community.

We advertise in places where WTFs looking for rides might hang out: bike co-ops, shops, internet, Facebook, food co-op, coffee shop, gay pride, book shops, etc.

Besides women, is there another group that you work with to promote cycling?

We are currently inclusive and welcoming to transgender cyclists in name and policy, but we know we should be doing more.  We are currently trying to get transgender educators to come and speak to our facilitators and organizers.  We would like to be connected to transgender cycling resources.  We would like to also find more community partners in the transgender community to work with.  All of this is to work towards the goal of being a safer and more inclusive space for transgender and gender queer cyclists.

What League resources or programming would be of most interest to you in advancing your women's and equity-related initiatives?

  • Equity toolkit — resources and best practices related to engaging underserved communities and empowering new leaders
    • Examples, strategies and toolkits would ideally come with context. Instead of "Engage Women," it would be more helpful to know, "This is an example of how X Organization engaged Y population in Z location."
  • Training and events — workshops on outreaching to and developing programming for underrepresented communities in your area
  • Model campaigns — key materials and real-world examples of women's outreach and other successful equity campaign
    • Examples and success stories are very helpful! I am interested in examples, but also very interested in the HOW. How much staff did it take, how much money was spent, how was the money raised, what were the specific outreach strategies, why were these tactics and decisions made? This is the information that is most helpful to an organizer.
  • Information and contact clearinghouse — centralization of stories and best practices related to equity and women's outreach
    • A place to find local programs and initiatives, based on geography would be helpful.
  • Grassroots funding — grants to advance women's and equity work at the state and local level

What can the League of American Bicyclists do to help your mission?

I think, like many small, grassroots organizations, we have the volunteer energy and the time to commit to our mission. We lack professional services like graphic design, professional grant writers to compete for larger grants, and web design. A grant can provide the money to access these services, but it would also be very valuable to have access to a directory of businesses that are woman-owned, cyclist-friendly, or that are working to promote gender parity.  Like a radical Angie's List?

Our organization is not a 501c3. Many grants are are only available to 501c3 organizations. Two barriers for us are lack of need to be a 501c3 (we do not accept donations or make any money), the fees to become a 501c3, and we don't have access to free tax advice if we were to take in donations. (If these resources are out there, we haven't looked or haven't found them yet.)

On behalf of the very small organizations like us, The League could help us have a voice in the bicycle industry. Grease Rag does not take any kind of free goods or sponsorship from any company or organization that is not actively and aggressively pursuing gender parity in cycling. After a women's group or event accepts a donation or sponsorship from a company, the company may now claim that they support and promote women's cycling.  But giving $500 to a race or group, while supportive, is not enough. We need to make a case as to why it is good for business and good for the industry to actively support gender parity. We need spaces, events, positive images, products advertising respectfully to us and equal payouts for women and men. The most important thing the League can do for us is to amplify our voice. We are not a few tiny organizations, we are a huge network of women and transgender cyclists.

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Huh, didn't realize you were lacking web design.
Posted by hereNT on
So glad that Grease Rag has a voice in this important conversation! Thanks, Lowrah, for pulling this together.
Posted by Stephanie R. on