'Sexist' Stockton Sportive cycling challenge leaflet withdrawn by council

In the advert a man says he'll cycle while 'Sarah's shopping with the girls'

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The Independent Online

A council in the North East England has withdrawn a 'sexist' cycling challenge advert following complaints.

The leaflet depicts a smiling male rider clad in expensive-looking cycling gear next to the words: “Sarah's shopping in Stockton with the girls. I'm signed up for Stockton's Sportive. That's Saturday sorted.”

Distributed by Stockton Borough Council, the flyer was intended to promote the town's cycling festival in July and an event known as Sportive, but was criticised for only featuring young, male riders in the photos.

Carole Jones, who helps to run the Cycle Sisters groups, which aims to promote cycling for women, complained to a local councillor.



She told the Northern Echo newspaper: “The message of the leaflet is, 'come cycling if you are a young, affluent male'.

"It's clear that Mrs Pankhurst's work is not yet done," she said, referring to the leading suffragette and political activist Emmeline Pankhurst.

The council said the leaflet, which cost around £500 to produce, would be replaced.

Councillor Ken Dixon, Stockton Council's cabinet member for arts, leisure and culture, said: "It was certainly not our intention to imply that women and girls cannot participate in every part of the festival and having listened to the concerns raised, we have decided to withdraw this particular leaflet and produce a redesigned version.

"We do a great deal of work to encourage female participation in sport and active leisure, including women's running clubs and women's cycling groups, and unlike many national cycle race events the Stockton Cycling Festival includes elite women's racing, as well as recreational rides which are open to all.

“The festival takes place over the weekend of July 11 to 13 - just one week after the Tour de France comes to the North of England for the first time - and we would like to be very clear that it is very much for everybody," he added.

Additional reporting by PA