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.
What is the #andshecycles Ambassador Programme?
Across Ireland, data shows that just one in every 250 teenage girls cycle to school every day. The #andshecycles campaign was developed to explore, understand and address barriers to cycling for teenage girls. Emerging from the #andshecycles research, it is clear that cycling for girls is not nearly as accessible as cycling for boys.
The #andshecycles Ambassador Programme is a unique development of this campaign with a focus on addressing the teenage cycling gender gap. This will be achieved through building and supporting student leaders to take action to enable and empower teenage girls to cycle to school.
There are three programme objectives:
- Develop role models & leaders for school cycling amongst teenage girls
- Empower teenage girls to shape the cycle-friendliness of their institutions
- Provide opportunities for teenage girls to cycle
The #andshecycles Ambassador Programme, then, is about teenage girls taking action and leading the way so they themselves and others have the genuine option to cycle.
Who can apply?
Since this programme is in part about developing and supporting female role models and leaders to tackle the cycling gender gap, applicants are limited to girls/young women attending an active Green-Schools secondary school that is currently on the Travel or Global Citizenship Travel themes. Students can apply individually or in teams of two or three. Boys and/or non-binary people within these schools are welcome and encouraged to work with and support these ambassadors to address the cycling gender gap.
Is the programme only for ‘cyclists’?
This programme is open to girls who do not cycle but would like to as well as girls who cycle. We welcome those who are passionate about creating change to enable girls to cycle!
Do I receive any resources for participating?
Successful applicants will receive an ‘Introductory Pack’ including a branded #andshecycles Ambassador hoody and pin, and #andshecycles badges for students in their school that are allies of the campaign.
What is involved in the programme?
The programme involves four stages:
- Application stage, where students apply and are selected;
- Training stage, where students are briefed and trained in a selection of skills that will help them take action to address the cycling gender gap;
- Action stage, where students take action to enable and empower girls to cycle to school;
- Award stage, where each ambassador/team of ambassadors are awarded their certificate of completion and outstanding achievements will be recognised.
Will there by opportunities to network with other students?
Ambassadors will have the opportunity to meet with other Ambassadors from across the country in our online training and monthly ‘Network Gatherings / Support Sessions’ that take place throughout the ‘Action Stage’ of the programme between February and September 2021. These gatherings will be an opportunity to share ideas, support one another, generate collective motivation, collaborate, and build solidarity as Ambassadors for tackling the cycling gender gap.
Read more in the document below or contact us to find out more about how to apply to take part.
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.