Sunday, 14 August 2011
A totally unscientific study
Totally unscientific study on women and cycling..
In Kenya we cycled with a lovely guy called Eric who covers 40km to
buy slightly cheaper maize over the Ugandan border which he can then
re-sell. He, as with most people we've met on the trip, seemed
genuinely shocked that a woman would and could ride a bicycle. And in
line with the comments of others, was particularly surprised that a
man would travel with his wife. "But where are your children? Who is
looking after them?" is what he and most others have asked. He told us
that there was research proving it was unscientific for women to
cycle. Interestingly women here are expected to walk for miles, carry
incredulous loads, balance children and do the farm-work but
apparently, they're too weak to cycle. So I've pulled together some
stats in a completely unscientific way..
In the course of cycling around Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania
we've seen about 58 women on bikes and tens of thousands of men.
The breakdown is as follows:
Kenya - 2
Uganda - 0
Rwanda - 0
Tanzania - 56
The impediments are multifarious. In remote rural communities most
women don't have access to sufficient funds to buy a bicycle - still
something of a luxury. Men tell them they are not strong enough and
that it is inappropriate (even unreligious). And they are expected to
wear long skirts or dresses and carry their babies which makes it less
Bearing in mind that these communities have little or no access to
public transport, it makes the injustice somehow more significant.