I feel I am the stereotype female ringer who always rings round the front end and has done virtually no conducting! I suppose it was the case that I found my comfort zone and stayed there. I cannot say I have ever felt inhibited by male dominance, if anything I have probably been the one resisting their encouragement.
Ringing is the ultimate team activity and I am always conscious that we are trying to achieve the best performance for the team as a whole. I would therefore prefer to stick to the bell that I think I will be best on, and avoid taking on the risk of conducting, in order to maximise the chances of a good outcome for the band as a whole. This becomes especially true when you get to peal ringing and competition ringing where success really matters, and letting the side down is a huge fear for me. The ringers' grape vine buzzes, so there is little hope that a bad performance will get quickly forgotten!
I know I am ultra-sensitive but from my experience of teaching in single sex schools I don't think it is just me! As a really broad generalisation, girls are perfectionists and self-critical whereas boys tend to have much less fear of failure.