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Wrong one. Fighting the patriarchy with cycling icons. Photo supplied

Fighting the ‘patriarchy’ on wheels

The German city of Hannover wants to become one of the pioneers of gender equality in public spaces. The city is waging a war against the patriarchy, even in places where it is least expected: on bike paths.

Published: May 15, 2019, 8:28 am


    Too often in the past, pictograms of men’s bicycles have been spotted on the lanes of Lower Saxony’s capital. But workers are currently removing the gender-separating upper tube from their bicycle representations on the roads.

    In this way, the “discriminating male bike” turns into a ladies’ bike in an instant.

    City spokesman Dennis Dix confirmed this Hanoverian peculiarity in an interview with the Neue Presse, emphasizing that this would incur no additional costs. He said nothing about a waste of precious hours however.

    The city has reportedly been a symbol of gender equality for 27 years. And should there remain a single gentleman’s bicycle icon on the streets of Hannover, the administration hopes that attentive citizens will soon draw their attention to it.

    In Germany, 49 percent of cyclists are women, while in the Netherlands, that number is 55 percent, which already points to relative gender equality. But in English-speaking countries The Women’s Cycling Survey found that 13 percent of women said “stranger attacks” were a concern.

    In the UK,  a study done last year has sought to cast light on the fact that men are twice as likely to use a bike as a form of transport in major cities across the UK.

    This discrepancy may not come as a surprise, because, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the largest British household survey, almost all immigrants to the country live in cities.

    The Sustrans Bike Life study looked at the gender gap in cycling in six major cities across the UK, finding less than half of women thought that their city was a good place to cycle overall and that a similar proportion were unhappy with existing cycle routes.

    In the US, for every three cycling men just one woman does the same, according to an analysis by a BuzzFeed reporter, who collected data from the three largest bike-share programs in the United States — New York, Chicago and Boston. All three US cities also happen to have large minority populations.


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