This article originally appeared on VeloNews.com on January 16, 2015
By Janel Holcomb and Robin Farina
In his January 2015 VeloNews.com article, “Women’s movement: The slow march toward equality”, Matthew Beaudin characterized the women’s cycling movement as “filled with potential, largely unrealized,” heavily supporting the “We can’t change the sport overnight” position of UCI president Brian Cookson. Therein lies the problem – the attitude of “we can’t” versus “we will”.
The “right” questions beg to be asked:
• Is it the function of the UCI to advance cycling for everyone – males and females? Don’t we want everyone to cycle?
• If women or any subset of men and women cyclists are underrepresented, is it the responsibility of UCI to address such underrepresentation?
• Should the world cycling community expect the governing board and committees of UCI to be equally composed of males and females using 100% of the talent available instead of just half of our population to advance the mission of the organization?
• Where is the financially-supported action plan to grow women’s cycling, to increase media attention and elevate sponsor attractiveness? The voicing of an organization’s commitment to gender equality or advancing women’s cycling goes nowhere without a corresponding investment of time, energy and resources and a clear strategic plan dictating the path to be traveled by the organization.
The answers to these questions are important. As important is the need to identify and shatter many of the myths holding back the development of women’s cycling. For instance, contrary to popular thought, the viewership and readership of women’s cycling is not a function of public interest. Rather it is the outcome of a lack of persistent intentional promotion by cycling teams, national and international cycling [...]