Last week's unprecedented, fan-led crowdfunding campaign to secure equal prize money at the first World Tour race of the 2021 season brought joy to all of us striving for change and fairness in the sport, raising over €26.000.
The funding will make a real different to the winners, but prize money is only part of the solution - fundamentally, the riders deserve a more stable economic environment.
Now is the time to address this inequality and build a better sport.
Fans have clearly demonstrated that they believe female cyclists deserve to be valued equally and have thrown their economic weight behind it.
Fans are key to demonstrating the importance, influence and value of the sport. As athletes, we are delighted to see fans have such engagement and respect for our achievements and we appreciate their call for change.
So we, the rider council want to help inspire our fans, new and old to be a crucial part in leading the change.
What can we all do next? Here are four simple steps to help build a better future for professional women's cycling:
1. WATCH WOMEN'S RACES
Vote with your remote. Activism can be as simple as sitting down in front of the TV. Always tune in to get the broadcast figures as high as possible! If there isn't coverage, speak out and demand it!
Women's cycling does not get the same broadcast hours as the men's. Airtime is the oxygen needed for our sport. By watching we prove to broadcasters and organisers that the demand is there and it helps enable cycling to generate revenues, awareness and emotional connection.
2. ENGAGE AND TALK ABOUT THE RACES
Tweet about them, Instagram them, attend them. Engage in the discussion and share stories about the athletes
Get riders and the race trending by showing you care about how the race unfolds, which rider you want to win, how exciting the racing was. It creates a spike of engagement that raises the profile. Use the race hashtag to add your voice to others. Together we are stronger
3. FOLLOW THE WOMEN'S TEAMS AND RIDERS
Follow teams on social platforms, sign up to their newsletters, engage with their content.
To build their profiles, enabling teams and riders to demonstrate their influence to media, stakeholders and sponsors. This will maximise their economic opportunities and help riders earn a living from the sport from sponsorship investment and marketing budgets. Currently, 32% of riders earn less than €15.000. Let's change that.
4. SPEAK UP AGAINST INEQUALITY WHEN YOU SEE IT
#ChooseToChallenge and use your voices to demand equal coverage, equal prize money, professional salaries, racing opportunities.
With more voices calling out inequity, we see more sponsors and media standing up for what’s right and more race organisers stepping up for women’s pro racinG. Let's make it an unavoidable truth. Use #STRIVEFORFAIRNESS to join The Cyclist's Alliance Campaign.
Now is the time to shape the future of women’s cycling.