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National Forum on Women & Bicycling
For three years, the League of American Bicyclists has hosted an event convening women engaged in bicycling advocacy across the nation. It has been the mission of the League’s Women Bike program to change the face of bicycling by creating pathways for women of diverse backgrounds to embrace biking as an everyday activity and participate as riders, advocates and leaders. Our annual forum has proven to be where many conversations around this mission began, and people leave inspired to enact change in their own communities.
One key question that has arisen from attendees as we enter our fourth year of a day centered on women’s issues in bicycling is whether its appropriate or effective to have this remain a separate event. It is in that spirit that we have chosen to update the name. Rather than be the National Women’s Bicycling Forum, we are now calling this day the National Forum on Women and Bicycling.
This does two things: One, it removes the possessive noun women’s, and instead clearly indicates that this event is intended to be inclusive of all people working to get more women on bikes. We will be discussing issues that are relevant to women within the bike movement, but not necessarily exclusive to women. And addressing these issues head on will require all people involved in bicycle advocacy working together. That means that the room should include and welcome women, men, and gender nonconforming individuals in the bike movement.
Second, it holds a space for us to in the future change the conversation. Our mission at the League is lead the movement to create a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone. This year, we believe the issue of encouraging more women to ride and lead that movement is an important one, deserving of it’s own full day of programming. But to lead the movement, we have to be nimble and responsive to a rapidly changing world. This new title becomes an open ended question: What issue demands we get together and discuss, seek solutions, and deliver results?
This year our theme is Bikes + Women Leaders = Big Ideas. We believe in empowering women to take on positions of leadership in bike advocacy. By creating more diverse leaders, and proposing new systems of leadership we invite more creativity and innovation into the bike movement. We think this will lead not only to more women on bikes, but more inclusive conversations about bike advocacy.
So our theme is about defining your personal destiny in the bike movement. Where can you be most effective? How can you use your authentic leadership style to elicit results in your community or at your place of business? How can we build a bike movement that values powersharing, building community, respecting diversity of personal experience, and challenging traditional notions of leadership? How can bike advocates that do not identify as women assist women in co-creating a bike movement that truly believes in bikes for all?
We will be announcing our speakers in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for more updates -- and register today!