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.


Unconscious bias?

After I had learned a few methods I started going to other local practices and learned to call simple touches at a local tower where I
was the most experienced ringer. I progressed to calling quarters and, in due course, several peals (the latter mostly organised by me). I married a ringer, and although he has also called peals, I have rung and called more complex methods than he has, and have also called more peals than him.

On numerous occasions we have visited towers on holiday, in many different counties, and I find that after we both ring in an initial touch, he is frequently invited to ring the tenor and to call many subsequent courses and touches. Although I'm invited to ring in them, I'm very rarely asked to ring the tenor or call a touch (or even a plain course) - indeed I can only recall one tower where that has ever happened. I'm perfectly happy not ringing the tenor, but it does irritate me that it's always assumed either that I wouldn't be able to call anything, or that the tenor ringer should always call everything (not sure which). I could butt in and say 'would you like me to ...' but I never do, as it seems rude when I'm a visitor.

I think it's more unconscious bias than a deliberate decision, generally by older male TCs who perhaps don't have much experience of women calling things or ringing tenors (because they've never invited it). Some of it is my fault, for not pushing myself forward (although my husband doesn't need to). Some of these towers have had female ringers who would clearly be capable of calling touches, and it's regrettable if they are never given the opportunity, if they want it. It's interesting to read other people's stories, several of which are very similar. It's also heartening to read that some have not experienced this, and perhaps things are slowly improving, or are better in some towers.