I was taught to ring over 40 years ago. We were all given the same opportunities and encouraged to attend other practice nights. I have never knowingly suffered abuse based on my gender....but plenty of banter and friendliness. I have had a couple of gaps in my ringing due to changes in life but have always been welcomed back, wherever I am. I am quite capable of ringing a heavier bell along with the chaps and love to do so, especially if there is a known philistine around. However, I have noticed that often it's the.men or boys who like to play around with the numbers in the methods and they tend to advance to higher stages in conducting. I've recently started looking at conducting a bit more and find my female brain cannot concentrate hard enough, especially if there are children around. I need to get back to the tower and try it in practise....maybe this is where the difference is.