Bo Novak, Feminist Campaigner

My name is Bo Novak.

I really never expected to have to defend the position that women and men are different because of biology, or that women’s experience of the world is vastly different to men’s. One example close to my heart is women’s participation in sport – not just competitive sports but sport as health and recreation.

There are lots of reasons why women do less sport than men and I love anything that supports women into getting out there. Road cycling is one area which is really dominated by men – we’ve all heard about MAMILs (middle-aged men in lycra), right!?

So, when I discovered a national scheme to encourage women to do road cycling in groups, I signed up straight away.

One day I turned up to a women-only ride to find there was a transwoman, not just along for the ride but actually leading the group. They were in a completely different league to the rest of us in terms of strength and endurance, and they had not experienced the psychological barriers women face. Consequently, the dynamic of the group really altered, and an opportunity had been lost for a woman rider to develop ride leadership skills in a small supportive group. I didn’t go back, and I think other women, like me, would prefer to withdraw from participating rather than be perceived as ‘non inclusive’. 

We know that women and girls are discriminated against and undermined by society’s sexism. But now, our freedom to speak about our unique experiences, to meet together in single-sex groups, and be supported to achieve as women are being hampered – and the proposed GRA reforms will contribute to this in law. That’s why I support Fair Play for Women.