Green-Schools Travel has been working with teenage girls to develop a campaign that shines a light on barriers that are preventing them from cycling and start some necessary conversations. #andshecycles is a national campaign that wants to help girls get back on their bikes while addressing some of the reasons they’re reluctant to in the first place.
We have been working with schools around the country to increase cycling numbers for over ten years. Because of this work we realised that although teen girls wanted to cycle the numbers weren’t increasing at the same levels as their male counterparts. So we asked why, and #andshecycles was born.
#andshecycles focuses on encouraging young women, particularly teenagers, to cycle while recognising and discussing the reasons why they feel that cycling is not for them. Why are young women avoiding the bike as a means of transport? Research undertaken by Green-Schools revealed that notwithstanding the usual concerns facing every cyclist (lack of cycle lanes, safety concerns) young women were also dealing with social issues such as peer pressure; harassment on the roads from drivers and young men; and a general perception of cycling as being “uncool”.
#andshecycles hopes to change and challenge these issues and perceptions through video, social media and continued liaison with students. Green-Schools hopes that by discussing and dissecting the reasons why young women are not cycling, we can highlight the positives, the ways to overcome and, through acknowledgement, help those students who might otherwise cycle to continue to do so or begin to do so in the future.
Green-Schools officially launched the #andshecycles campaign on Thursday September 19, at an event in the Science Gallery, Trinity College Dublin. Over 100 people attended the launch event, which included a welcome reception showcasing the #andshecycles portraits by photographer Ste Murray of young female cyclists. The exhibition was followed by the premiere of the official #andshecycles campaign video which can be viewed below and shared on social media platforms.
The panel discussion, chaired by RTÉ 2FM DJ Tara Stewart features International Irish Cyclist and new UCD student Lara Gillespie; student Aislinn McDaid; Green-Schools Travel Officer Caitríona Buggle; and Health Services Research professor, Dr. Catherine Darker. The audience was primarily made up of female secondary school students, along with journalists and cycling enthusiasts. Have a listen to the many interesting conversations which were raised during the panel discussion and the concluding Q&A session.
Following the Dublin launch Green-Schools plans to host similar events around Ireland with Green-Schools Travel Staff and secondary school students.
Why not download one of our #andshecycles media stickers and tag us @greenschoolsire