I think of myself as a “started too late in life (when I was in my 60s) ringer”, rather than as a “female” ringer. Gender does not come into it, for me. My tower has a good ratio of male and female ringers - although all of us who are beginners are “older ladies”, oddly enough. No beginner men or boys at all. I have never had anything but encouragement from all of the more experienced ringers, regardless of gender, including being encouraged to ring the tenor in my 10 bell tower. My main encouragement to do that has, it has to be said, been from the male ringers in my tower..the “boys” who most often seem to ring it on practice nights. But they ring it most often because, I think, the ladies just don’t grab it or want to ring it? I have been part of my own problem for sure. By not believing I could “handle it”. But of course, I could.. no problem. So I have mainly the boys to thank for giving it a go.
Now, 5 years exactly since I started my “ringing journey”, I stand in awe of the really experienced ringers with their amazing technique and knowledge. But also of the younger ringers that I have met - mostly female - and at their extraordinary and meteoric progress. Especially when compared to mine! How I envy them their quick witted brains. And their confidence! Maybe younger women beginner - or inexperienced ringers -are just far more confident than we older female beginners?
I have also been amazed at the kindness and patience - and wonderful ringing ability - of my own tower teacher and ART scheme mentor. A female ringer who has been ringing since she was a child. Also so impressed at the ability and generosity of spirit of the other guides and helpers who have taught me, along the way.. many of whom have been brilliant women ringers, too. But, having said that, absolutely everyone in my tower, or other towers that I regularly go to, (both male and female), have been very helpful and kind, and freely given me their nuggets of knowledge and pearls of wisdom. So, to summarise, gender just isn’t part of the conversation for me. But oh how I
envy the ringers who started when they were young!