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New Women In Cycling initiative seeks to boost equality and diversity

Women In Cycling guest speaker Bonnie Tu
Women In Cycling guest speaker Bonnie Tu (Image credit: Getty Images)

A new initiative Women In Cycling (WIC) that aims to boost equality and diversity in the cycling industry is set to launch on February 24 at 3 p.m. CET with special guest Bonnie Tu, Giant Group chairperson, Giant, Liv, Momentum, and CADEX brands & Liv Cycling Founder.

The initiative was started by Cycling Industries Europe (CIE), European Cyclists Federation (ECF), Velokonzept, Mobycon and Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry (CONEBI) and seeks to help women to get more visibility, impact and leading seats in the cycling industry and in the entire sector.

"The idea to launch Women In Cycling came from an industry event (Eurobike 2019) where we attended Thought Leaders Breakfast with a room packed with men. All of a sudden, Will Butler-Adams (CEO of Brompton) raised a question: 'Where are all the women?' and true, we were a handful of women among 300 men in suits attending the breakfast meeting," said Lauha Fried, policy director at CIE.

"Right after the event we got together with some of the other women including my colleagues Ayse Sumer from CIE and Isabell Eberlein of Velokonzept and started planning a women’s network for the sector. Another group led by ECF and Mobycon had also started working on the topic of equality & cycling and finally, we joined forces and now have a wonderful coalition of industry and NGO’s working together.

"The key aim of WIC is to boost equality and diversity in the cycling sector. We seek to facilitate a platform which will improve the presence of women in board places, panels, conferences, interviews and jobs. We have for example created an Expertise Portal where women working for the sector can sign up and tag their expertise with keywords. This idea came from chatting with our US colleagues about WIC and they told me that they have a policy of 50 per cent women in panels but it’s often difficult to find those women. Now anyone looking for women for keynotes, panels, expertise, jobs, board places or simply for networking with peers can go to the portal and start searching.

"The vision of Women In Cycling is for a diverse, inclusive cycling sector that provides equal opportunities and contributes to achieving cycling's full potential."

Mission

  • Create an empowering platform for women from all parts of the sector with opportunities to network, exchange views and experiences, and collaborate on projects and initiatives that help achieve the vision.
  • Encourage organisations in the sector to adopt targets and policies that improve diversity and gender balance and increase representation of women in leadership roles.
  • Campaign for no more all-male panels at cycling sector events.
  • Ensure the diverse experiences of women are taken into account and represented in decision making bodies, projects and processes that affect the sector.

"The cycling sector is traditionally a male-dominated industry in all sectors (design, sales, marketing). On the one hand there is a huge skills shortage in the cycling industry on the other hand the industry fails to attract diverse groups. As a consequence, gender inequality is even more prevalent at decision-making levels. Women are generally under-represented on company boards and among senior management positions, as well as in politics. As a result, the few women who manage to secure top positions are often less well connected with their peers than their male colleagues," Fried said.

"Research tells us that women can also have different everyday needs for cycling than men. Women for example tend to use their bikes more for taking kids to school, going to the shop or to work while many men like the more sporty side of it, they want to go far and fast, build cycle highways etc. Security is also an important point, for women secure cycling conditions and infrastructure are essential to be able to take their kids onboard. But I’m looking forward to learning more about this when we get WIC kicked off, meet more women and learn from their experience."

The WIC will launch on February 24 with a formal welcome by Jill Warren, co-CEO at ECF, followed by an address by Bonnie Tu, chairwoman of Giant. Guest speakers will also include Fried, Isabell Eberlein from Velokonzept, Florence Gregoire from ECF and Angela van der Kloof from Mobycon.

"We are thrilled to have Bonnie Tu kicking off the launch. She is one of the most influential women in the industry and has a lot of experience from diversity and equality initiatives in the US and Asia. The opening address will be a one-on-one interview and I’m very much looking forward to hearing more about the creation of the Liv brand designed exclusively for women," Fried said.

"It looks from a distance that Taiwan has had more success in bringing women in senior positions, there’s definitely also a lot to learn also from the business and management side. This will also give a nice global dimension for our launch as we are keen on working closely together with our colleagues across the world."

The launch will include stories from women across the cycling sector, moderated by Raluca Fiser, president of Green Revolution & ECF Vice-President. Special guest will include Susanne Puello head of Pexco, Sarika Panda Bhatt co-founder of Raahgiri Day, Anna Nikolaeva from University of Amsterdam, Monika Sattler, who is the first woman to cycle all stages of the Vuelta a España, and cycling blog writer and journalist Pinar Pinzuti from Bikenomist. The event will conclude with a networking session and closing remarks. 

The Women In Cycling launch will take place on February 24 from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. CET, and for more information, please click here.

Kirsten Frattini

Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.