It is no secret that women are underrepresented in the cycling industry. According to Cycling UK, only one million women in the UK cycle regularly – just 3% of the population, with many more bike journeys made by men than women.
Imagine the difference that could be made to the sport and the industry by encouraging more women to cycle – after all, we are potential customers and employees for your business. But how is the industry itself catering to the women who work in it? Is the gap really closing or is there still a long way to go? Rebecca Morley got in touch with five women from different areas of the trade to find out how they got into the industry, what their experiences have been and what more could be done.
Today, we hear from Robyn Bowie, marketing manager at 2pure.
Tell us how you got into the cycle industry.
I’ve been involved in the cycling industry from a young age, growing up I spent a lot of time in bike shops and my parent’s distribution business. Having sworn I would never work for them an opportunity arose when Barry – marketing manager for 2pure at the time – heard I was looking for a year placement during my degree and asked if I wanted to apply for one of the vacancies in the marketing department. And that was five years ago. My role has changed a lot over the last five years as I have been encouraged to explore various avenues within the company.
What’s been your proudest moment so far?
Apart from being featured in BikeBiz’s 30 under 30, it’ll have to be the first year that I planned and executed 2pure’s room at COREbike. When I took over the role of marketing manager my first big project was COREbike. It was left to me to make sure the room design and our overall attendance was a success. It was a great experience and I learned a lot after that first year. But I will never be prouder than I was when our sales team came in to see the room for the first time.
What are your experiences of being a woman in the cycling industry and do you feel that the gender gap is closing at all?
My experiences vary – my first year at COREbike (2015) was certainly an eye-opener. I was six months into my time at 2pure and supported Barry and the team in organising our room/stand at COREbike. I was thrown into a male-dominated environment, not unfamiliar to me at the time. However, what stood out to me the most was the feeling of arrogance and brash behaviour that created an unwelcoming environment.
Sometimes I forget what a lovely bubble 2pure has created for me as a female in this industry. I forget when I step outside of this that there are still a lot of people within the industry who don’t encourage or support women in their roles. A lot has changed since then and I truly do see a lot more female representation within the industry. I know from experience how much 2pure has changed in the last few years, we have a much more representative male: female ratio within the company. I am not seen as a ‘woman’ but a colleague who has equal input and valuable contribution to the discussion, the same as anyone else.
If you could give one piece of advice to women entering the industry, what would it be?
I would say find a company which is supportive and encouraging – you should feel like your contribution is valued. There are plenty of people within the industry who are supportive and forward-thinking. I would caveat that by saying most women in the industry are strong women who are pushing the industry forward.