Thursday, 16 April 2015

Where Are All the Women?

Recently I traveled to Argentina, and, as I can't help but do now, tried to get a sense of the culture of two-wheelers in another country. Two-wheels versus cars, motorcycles versus scooters, city versus country, female riders versus male riders...that sort of thing.

It's never a scientific survey, more of an impression, one made this time while sitting in the parks and cafes in Buenos Aires and being out on the road in other parts of the country. There were plenty of two-wheeled vehicles - why not in a country with a climate that allows for a long riding season? And there seemed to be a mix of scooters and motorcycles on city streets that was difficult to quantify.

What did strike me was the wide spread between the number of female riders and the number of men.

This is a country with a female president, although one under constant assault for wrongdoing, mind you. This is the country that turned Eve Peron into dear Evita, a saint to many with her own fawning museum. This is a country with women who look comfortable in their own skin visible in the workforce and on the streets.

I did see one woman on a mod-looking scooter with a flowing skirt and others on motorcycles and more practical-looking scooters. But I'd say nine times out of time the riders who whizzed by me were male, sometimes with a woman sitting behind them.

It was a surprise to me. In Vietnam, North America, throughout Europe and even in India, from my experience, the spread is much closer. And I could only conclude that the famous Latin American machismo is alive and well in Argentina when it comes to traditionally male activities like riding two-wheeled vehicles.

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