“I think the bicycle has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives a woman a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. The moment she takes her seat she knows she can’t get into harm unless she gets off her bicycle, and away she goes, the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.” – Susan B Anthony
While we all know that bicycling is a critical alternative mode of transportation, those living in cities of bike lanes and traffic laws often forget just how challenging riding bicycles can be, and just how empowering and emancipating it can be. The following is crossposted from the India Climate Solutions blog, written by Rudmila Rahman of Arohi Cycling
On Friday, February 25, a group of 30 passionate women from diverse walks of life got on their bicycles and rode through Dhaka to promote bicycles as an alternative means of mobility for women in Bangladesh. We cycled more than 5 kilometers together, through the streets of Dhaka, in the rally organized by Arohi – Bangladesh’s first women’s cycling initiative aimed to gather a critical mass of individuals who are interested to promote cycling for women in Bangladesh in order to ride a bicycle to work, school or for recreation, with an aim to break the stigma attached to a girl on a cycle.
They believe this, in turn, will promote freedom of mobility in Dhaka for women, as well as a cleaner environment. Bangladeshi women face significant barriers from family, neighbors and society in getting on a bike a riding around town in bright daylight. Freedom of mobility is seriously curtailed in Dhaka if women don’t feel safe to travel independently in their own city. Over 35% of female commuters in Dhaka depend on a cycle rickshaw and as more major roads ban these rickshaws, daily mobility for women is threatened furthermore. Arohi’s tagline: “Pedaling the way to empowerment” summarizes the links that we plan to draw between cycles, mobility and empowerment.
Continue reading ‘Cycles of Change: Pedaling to Empowerment in Dhaka’