First posted: 16 January 2021

Women in Ringing

I hope towers with ringing will make take the opportunity to mark the 125th anniversary this February of the first woman, Alice White, to ring a tower bell peal. More information about Alice can be found in the first chapter of Giants of the Exercise II along with other interesting stories about early ringing by women.

Ladies Grandsire Caters Band, 22 April 2019

A female band that rang a quarter-peal of Grandsire Caters in 2019.

In ANZAB about 45% of our membership is female, but, a quick search of Peals rung for ANZAB in 2018 and 2019 showed no female conductors and only about 27% female members in the bands. In 2020 the number of female ringers in ANZAB peal bands was down to around 18%, but one of the 22 peals was conducted by Esther Perrins, and that was the very impressive Scientific Triples in hand. I have not calculated figures for quarter-peals but it is something ANZAB could consider tracking.

The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers has a working group for gender balance in ringing. They have a Women in Ringing website and they produced the "Women in ringing" issue of The Ringing World (no. 5716, 13 November 2020). Both of these provide many thought provoking and challenging ideas we should consider so as to encourage our female ringers. They also celebrate women's achievements, have useful tips for all ringers, and The Ringing World issue has some fun Q&A with the Agony Aunt, Aunt Sally.

Graph

Image taken from Women In Ringing showing the proportion of women represented in various aspects of ringing.

Your tower could set a goal to have quarter-peal and peal bands averaging (at least) 50% women and ensuring you provide opportunities for women to learn and practise conducting.

I hope to see some peals and quarter-peals celebrating women in ringing this February, including many female ringers and conductors.

Deryn Griffiths
January 2021

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