Women in ringing

I learnt to ring in a tower where it was clear that I would be expected to ring the heavier back bells, there was no gender discrimination. I was excited and empowered by the opportunities. Then I moved to an environment where the women were rarely asked to ring heavier bells and often excluded from any ringing other than the more simple methods.

It is demoralising and demeaning and hard to make progress in such limiting circumstances; I  almost gave up ringing completely because I felt of no value in the male-dominated bands.

Thankfully I joined a group of ringers who were more encouraging and morale improved, but it was too late to learn how to ring back bells effectively, the view, feel and skill of handling a heavier bell is so different. Although I enjoy the challenge whenever possible I'll never make a back-ender, that skill needs to be nurtured from the start.

Many times I have rung in ladies' bands.  Mostly the atmosphere is completely different, more relaxed more supportive, less competitive. There are more experienced back bell lady ringers, but they seldom make the front end ringers feel inferior (probably because they recognise the skill required for a little bell); the ringing becomes a real team effort and is thoroughly enjoyable.