The other day, listening to a radio programme about working in high finance, I heard a female banker speaking about how she feels that it is perfectly understandable that companies are reluctant to take on employees of her own sex. We are, of course, far less reliable than our male counterparts. Apart from prompting me to give the radio a threatening look, this also got me thinking about why women are considered less dependable employees. The answer, of course, is our annoying tendency to reproduce. But apart from maternity leave women also tend to carry out the more mundane child related tasks, say…The SCHOOL RUN! (Dedicated Dads, please don’t take offence! I generalize for the purposes of valid point making, I hope).
So, the school run. I wonder how much more ‘reliable’ female workers would be deemed if they didn’t have to tackle the chaos that dropping kids off at school can be; even if the kids aren’t driven everyday, it could take just a few late mornings due to missed school buses to build up a reputation.
The answer to the school run problem should be get the kids on the bikes, but lets be honest, in how many parts of Birmingham would you feel safe letting a child out the house in the morning to bike the mean streets on the way to school. We go on about how bad drivers and road layouts make cycling more dangerous generally, but imagine if you were half the size, half as fast, and a lot less confident. There are obviously some kids who are self-assured enough to cycle to school, and going on the pavement is an option, but you don’t see many of them, which I think is pretty understandable.
The lack of kids cycling doesn’t just bode ill for mums dropping them off at school. Although some people (myself included) do start riding bikes as an adult when not having done so as a child, you can assume some link between not cycling as a child and not cycling as an adult. Also, the more kids get used to being driven about, the more future drivers we have on our hands who have no idea what its like to bike in traffic and as such drive like a complete jerk. Let’s look at it like insurance for our collective old age; when I’m the wrong side of 70, pootling around on a shopper with a cat in my bike basket, I want to be around nice friendly drivers!
So, to conclude this ramble, a lot of the things we want to do at femme pedale and Birmingham Bike Foundry will benefit both kids and adults – but I’m going to try to ponder the kids aspect a little more than before.