Here at grity, we believe in equity for men and women in sport. Why is this even an issue? Well, that’s because historically there have been big differences in opportunities available for men and women in sport. As a little girl, I vividly remember seeing the boys go out to have a wonderful afternoon in the sun playing cricket and we girls stayed indoors because cricket was a game ‘for boys’. Thankfully, this was no longer the case for my own daughters, and one used to love playing cricket for the village team. However, it is still true that in many sports gender differences exist, impacting both opportunities and participation.
It is pleasing to see that in the world of cycling, steps are currently being taken to reduce the gender gap, and there is greater TV and media coverage of women’s races. It wasn’t long ago that people like Sarah Connolly, Matt Payne, Jose Been, and Marty Macdonald were some of the few journalists with detailed knowledge of the women’s race scene and we must thank them for allowing us at grity to follow the sport when there was sparse official coverage. The big races of the Giro Donna/Rosa, Trofeo Alfredo Binda and since 2010, the Women’s Tour of Britain have been don’t-miss events on the road… and offroad, the women’s MTB and CX races are spectator-gold. However, there is still a very long way to go!
At grass roots level, it is certainly true that more women are riding bikes than ever before, but it is also true that there remain fewer female cyclists than men and there remains less choice of all types of kit, from brake levers through to socks. Hurrah for the women currently out there leading the way and hurrah for those women just beginning on their cycling journeys.
When we set up grity we decided not have a special women’s collection, but to make everything for men and women alike. That’s because we think that there should be equal gender opportunities in cycling at all levels. For example, there should be equal high-profile races for men and women; grass roots racing must offer events for men and women, boys and girls; when there is kit for men, there should be kit for women.
We make kit where the cut is gender specific, so that it is comfortable for the anatomy for which it is designed (i.e. female kit for females, male kit for males), because, let’s face it, men and women have different curves in different places! We are mindful that our designs should appeal to anyone and so there is the same kit offering available to both men and women.
And don’t forget, any pro rider stage racing in Italy would love to finish wearing a pink jersey, whether they are in the men’s Giro d’Italia or women’s Giro Rosa!