At the Bike Church (Santa Cruz), we actively encourage females already in the space to start volunteering - fully intending on later recruiting them to become mechanics/core members of the collective.
Personally, when I speak to females while trying to recruit them, I'm very upfront about our desire to have more women in the shop. I try to allude to my personal feelings that without some sort of gender balance we, as a community space, are incomplete. I hope that it translates and makes them feel valued.

A fellow mechanic walked through the office as I was typing this, and he said that BICAS, who has employees rather than volunteers, has a policy of having at least one woman per shift. He also mentioned that, within our society, women are some what demotivated to learn mechanical skills because of the lack of potential long term compensation. When a male is learning mechanical skills in a community bike shop, he is learning a skill set that he can use as a machinist, carpenter, or bike tech in another shop. A woman is less likely to be offered or take those positions, so there is less motivation for them to learn skills that may not have further applications beyond the community shop or their own personal bicycle.

I really encourage shops to have internal conversations about the topic. It may not get far, but it's important to begin the process. AND, it's important for male mechanics to really listen to what female mechanics have to say. A strong sense of empathy only goes so far guys. At some point, you have to stop, listen, and defer to what they're feeling.

On Wed, Oct 28, 2009 at 2:49 PM, Bike City <> wrote:
Hello everybody,

I've been mulling over a lot of ideas lately about overthrowing the male
domination of bicycle co-ops, collectives, recycleries, mechanics, and
the industry in general.

Are there any non-males out there who would be interested in discussing
strategies to whoop the shit out of male privilege? I'd like to set an
email list up for this purpose, but in the meantime, please email me:


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