The working group has completed it's task and submitted a report and recommendations to the Central Council for Church Bellringers.   This website is minimally maintained as an archive and a benchmark to measure future progress.


Self Doubt and Social Fears

I think some of the problems are from a wider societial view of how women 'should' act. I've rung in two towers, the first where I learnt to
ring and my current one which I began ringing at when I went to uni. I learnt to ring in a group of girls (we went to the same girls' school and it was recruited from there), which definetly made me more willing to volunteer and step up, however I recognised this was a more 'male' trait (this wouldn't have stopped me, but the other girls were more reticent). Many of these girls dropped ringing when they went to uni because they felt too awkward ringing with strangers - we were a small group of maybe 5 newbies and 6 older ringers.

When I moved on to ringing with people beyond other newbies, I didn't want to be seen as pushy, or arrogant, as I was worried what effect this might have on my relationship with the other ringers. I was worried if I asked to ring a heavier bell and did badly, people would be annoyed at me for messing up, and be less likely to want me to take part.

I wanted to be sure I could either do something very well, or wait to be asked to try something more difficult so if it went wrong it wasn't due to me being overambitious. I also felt guilty as it felt like I was holding everyone back and being annoying when they rang something which was simple for them but challenging for me. I think this is as much to do with me usually being quite a lot younger as being a female - an unpleasent fear of being seen as either difficult and arrogant, or as an annoying kid to be humoured.

I will add here that my (male) tower captain is great, and specifically proposes bits of ringing for people who are trying to learn something to make sure we all get a chance to try something harder. The only thing that did cross my mind as a potential bias is that there is a male ringer about my age and level, who was given more chances to ring heavier bells while I was given more chances to ring methods/plain hunt. There wasn't a significant difference as we both learnt both.

In general, lots of the issues I've seen have been women/girls not wanting to put themselves out there for whatever reason, rather than the men specifically suppressing them. Having been maintaining social contact over lockdown and getting to know the other ringers on a less 'professional' basis makes me feel much more comfortable and willing to push myself when I go back. There are also several very good female ringers who are very involved who really inspire me to follow in their footsteps.