Can Women Be Cyclists?

Can women cycle? Of course, women can ride a bike, but the number of women who compete in cycling competitions would suggest otherwise. Even less women of colour can be found in competition, Ayesha McGowan being one of the few eyeing a pro-cycling career. At the 2018 RideLondon cycling event, a total of three women of colour attended the event. Three women of colour out of the thousands of middle aged white men who competed. Why is there no gender or race diversity in cycling? Why are only middle aged white men attending these events?

According to Marlene Dixon et al., in their article Enhancing Women’s Participation and Advancement in Competitive Cycling, women were first excluded from cycling in the late 19th century to assure that their reproductive system remained healthy. Knowing now that cycling will not impact their ability to reproduce, why is there still such a divide between female and male cyclists?

Men dominate the sport and continue to imply their superiority through this dominance. In her experience from the competition, Asha Modha (a British Indian woman) felt her presence was not welcomed. While cycling, she received “condescending and cutting remarks, as well as uncomfortable gazes which [she] interpreted as unwelcoming micro-aggressions” (Modha, 2018).

The societal norms of cycling competitions has been favouring Caucasian men for decades now. The only way to have diversity in the sport is to change the dominant attitudes of these athletes who are already accepted into the sport.

Featured image: source


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