I started learning to ring about two and a half years ago, first in the classrooms at MIT ringing handbells, and then later at the Church of the Advent in Boston, MA USA.
I've been lucky to have many good mentors and role-models during my time ringing, who encouraged me to conduct and to use my computer science skill to solve difficult problems (though I admit I've since taken a break from finding a bobs-only peal composition for Erin Triples!)
However, when I started tuning in to conversations about ringing theory and composition, I heard very few women speaking. Conversations with other ringers about this topic spurred the following observations: compositions often spring from a conductor's need, and relatively few women conduct. My own analysis of BellBoard data has shown that to be true. That same analysis showed that women are very unlikely to be ringing back bells, in general, which may contribute to an imbalance in conducting.
Now is the time to start thinking about how we can promote equity and inclusion for people of all genders and gender expressions. For my own part, I am currently working on a publication about calling and conducting, with a particular emphasis on calling from anywhere in the circle, not just the back bells.
I've been very lucky only to have a few minor gender-related blips in my ringing progress; but I know this isn't the case for all women. I have hope that education and support, from all sides, will go a long way towards solving this complex problem.