Monday, March 13, 2006

Where are Them Wimmin??

Now, I’m not complaining here, but at yesterday's club ride there were four women in the group of about 25 riders. Saturday, two. For a single gal, these aren’t bad odds...if one is men...


...just not all the time. I LIKE riding with men, but I also like riding with strong women. The conversation is different. The purpose is different we don't feel the need to pip each other at the top of every hill.

The recreational club I ride with now and again is huge, with rides of varying distances and speeds to accommodate those with hybrids riding 15 miles, all the way to the hard cores on their race bikes. I can only speak to that middlin’ to higher-paced segment -- there’s a direct correlation between faster rides and fewer women.

I know my entry into sports was influenced by a try-anything group of high school girlfriends who were up for it all -- that, and the passage of Title IX which finally provided women's sports beyond gymnastics, tennis and golf. We’d never touched a volleyball before, never dribbled a basketball, and we threw a softball as though we were in the shot-put circle; but there we were standing on the baseline in our red, canvas, high-top Converses ready to absorb it all.

According to one source in my non-exhaustive search:
  • Before Title IX, young women were 7% of the students participating in high school sports. In 2001, young women are 41.5% of the students participating in high school sports. In raw numbers, we went from 300,000 to 2.7 million athletes-a gain of over 800%.
  • Before Title IX, women were 2% of the college students participating in sports. In 2001, women were 43% of the college students participating in sports. In raw numbers, we went from 32,000 to 150,000 athletes -- a gain of over 400%.
But where are all those athletic women now? I can understand not seeing as many women my age since I was on the cusp. But what of those in their 30s and below? Shouldn’t we be seeing them? After they got out of school, what'd they do? Where’d they go?

Why aren’t they out on bicycles?

- things that make TOB go hmmmm


Pete said...

They're all playing hockey!

the old bag said...

Glad they're somewhere!

Squirrel said...

I was thinking Roller Derby:)


senioritis said...

They're at the damn gym, spinning. And how they can stand it, I have no idea.
Your ride situation reminds me of 15 years ago, when I was an early-40s recreational cyclist (never Cat 4 or 3!). My cycling partner & I signed up for our first multi-day charity trek. We were 15 years older than any other women on that trek. People treated us like we were from Mars.

the old bag said...

Martians unite! :-] Glad to hear you were out there trailblazing!

I suppose indoor activities draw more: spinning, aerobics, etc. A couple of my long-lost high school girlfriends still run, but many of them do the quick in-at-the-gym things.

the old bag said...

Squirrel -- roller-derby=hockey for the weather-challenged :-)

annie said...

I'm here! I'm on a bike! But my theory is that it's a financial thing. Cycling has a high cost just to get started, let alone stay in it, let alone at a competitive level where you have to have a nice bike or you're already at a disadvantage. Most people my age don't make any more than I do, and unlike me they aren't willing to put every spare penny into cycling. "You spent WHAT on a bike?" is what I hear most often from people in their 20s. But there are LOTS in their 30s. You're just on the wrong team. ;-)

the old bag said...

Annie -- I hadn't thought of the equipment angle, good point. But, I see the same low numbers of women in recreational riding...which is where I am now.

If I ever consider racing again, I'll sure look for a fun team of women...might join up with you on a training ride sometime -- we'll see where the legs are!