More than 50 women ringers have now posted stories on the ‘Women in Ringing’ website, and the research project is now looking for even more. The stories are starting to paint a picture of the level of gender imbalance in ringing both now and in the past and are an important part of building up an understanding about whether gender does influence progress in ringing.
The team, which is led by Julia Cater, is looking to hear from anyone who has an individual perspective on this subject, whether that is a story that demonstrates unconscious bias such as not being encouraged to conduct, or not having the same opportunities as male ringers in the same situation. Stories can be submitted via the website here.
One correspondent for instance told how she had lots of opportunities to call touches, quarters and peals while growing up as a teenager, but when she married a male ringer those opportunities stopped, an experienced she found repeated with a lot of her female ringing friends. Quite a few stories are about the lack of opportunity to ring heavier bells despite having the ability to do so.
The first data analysis has also been published on the website and formed the basis of an article in The Ringing World (28 August p850). This looks at how the representation of female ringers changes between the Ringing World National Youth Contest (nearly 50% female) and the National 12-bell Striking Contest (25%), as well as female representation across ART’s Learning the Ropes programme (which is more balanced).
If you have a story to tell, or are just interested in the experiences of others, take a moment to visit the website.
About the project
The research project has been set up to explore the question posed by Central Council President, Simon Linford:
“Why is it that there is an even gender balance among ringers in the early stages of ringing, but the gender distribution changes at more “advanced levels”?
The aim of the research project is to determine what data is available to support this question, and to determine possible barriers and causes for why this is happening. Data gathered will be both quantitative and qualitative with the most important part being an analysis of themes from people’s stories. We encourage you therefore to tell us your story or thoughts on the subject of gender in ringing. We fully hope and expect that the findings will go forward into a number of initiatives that will bring change within bell ringing.
The Women in Ringing website is to a space to gather information about the topic, present findings, and explore ideas for bringing change which will enable the bell ringing community to achieve gender balance in ringing.