I learned to ring more than 30 years ago when I was an undergraduate at Kalamazoo College, Michigan. My first peal was a handbell peal, and I was the last student to have learned handbells before learning to ring a tower bell.
My early ringing career was packed with strong female role models - the prevalence of the Cathedral Girls School and Smith College as centres of training in North American ringing meant that a lot of leading ringers were women. When I came to the UK, I rang a lot at St Mary's Abbotts in Kensington, which again was full of strong female role models. The result was that I was a little slow in realising this was not always the case for other women learning to ring.
I now spend most of my time ringing tower bells in Glasgow and Inveraray, and handbells with our Albany Quadrant band. In the tower the band collectively have been working to encourage women to step up, say yes to new challenges, and the work has yielded positive results for all of the band. For my part, I decided it was time to stop letting my talented husband do all the conducting and have started a new journey as a beginner conductor.