Friday, 8 July 2011

Women in Cycling - New CV Grant

I am watching this one from the side line, with interest. It was on the cards that CV would be successful in gaining funds (Vic Govt Sport and Rec I assume) to develop opportunities for increased participation of women in cycling.

For  most of us, that phrase "increased participation of women in cycling" immediately makes us think of chicks on bikes, preferably racing, because we are CV members and we race. I don't think that's an unreasonable assumption. But I did have my doubts as to whether that is what the CV Board Executive had in mind for this money.

My doubts were validated when CV put a call out for "all women officers "  to attend a forum, to be held at MSAC. This rang alarm bells for me in regard to 1. the cost of the venue and 2. CVs intention and direction for increasing female participation. When the grant was announced, a few Facebook buddies and I joked about more women to bring a plate. Looks like we weren't wrong.

I heard off the record that 10 women and 6 men attended this function. I am not sure what was discussed explicitly, although the St Kilda model was presented. My understanding of the St Kilda model is to get as many female members as possible. This helps support future grant applications, by demonstrating growth in female participation in the sport. The cynic in me asks, how many are racing ie what percentage of total female membership is racing. From my knowledge of previous membership figures, I'd estimate only 25%. Not a very high transition rate from bringing a plate socialising and coffee rides, to racing.

I'm looking forward to more publicity regarding CV's intentions with this grant, and perhaps an agenda of events/project planning so that the CV membership can see where this money will be spent, what the projected outcomes are, what the measurements will be, and to determine what real world results will be achieved.

But I ain't holding my breath. I suspect another project officer may be employed, and more functions for women who bring a plate at expensive venues will be on the board. I hope I am wrong and look forward to being proven so.

PS if the CV Board Exec are serious about women in leadership/sports administration roles, they could start at home. Currently there is at least one spot on the Board available, and I think two, to which women could easily be seconded. Let's see the Exec back up the rhetoric with action.