I rang in a number of what would probably be labelled as "elite" peal bands from my late teens to mid-20s before moving abroad for work then having children. I have been the only woman in the band on many occasions and it has never occurred to me to view myself any differently from the other male band members. I've always felt treated with the same level of respect as everyone else and feel like my ringing is judged based on the same criteria (learning the methods, striking well, and not making mistakes!) and not my gender. The only difference, I suppose, is that I always ring round the front to middle but I enjoy this more and would rather be placed on these bells. If I had wanted to ring round the back and had asked the conductor, I doubt that this would have been a problem, so I don't have an issue with
this. If anything, I find that conductors sometimes try to place me further round the back when I don't want this to happen! I understand that others might feel differently about this point though.
The vast majority of record performances, specifically long lengths, have all male or nearly all male bands. I have rung a few long lengths in both tower and hand, and have been invited into more of these peals, but made the decision for myself a while ago that I don't enjoy the physical side of ringing for very long periods so would rather stick to normal length peals.
This decision is based on what I enjoy rather than what I might be able to do, whereas my husband is keen to "have rung / achieved" something sometimes irrespective of the level of enjoyment. I'm not sure whether this is a male / female issue or specific to us! In any case, I feel like I've been given opportunities, but have chosen for myself whether or not to take them.
I really struggle to think of examples of where I feel like I have been deliberately sidelined or discriminated against in ringing. This just hasn't happened to me. I can though think of loads of examples of unconscious bias, by both men and women, and will try to give some thoughts about how this could be avoided in the future in other posts.