Top 5: what cycling means to women and girls around the world | ActionAid UK

Next month the Tour de France sets off from Yorkshire and I'm really excited to hear there is a women's race this year! Plus, ActionAid is raising money for bikes so girls in Ghana can get to school safely. Find out why cycling means such a lot to women and girls around the world.

Josephine Suglo, Agustina Gabue, Cynthia Yiriyella and Pascalina Tinga show off the bicycles they ride to school in northwest Ghana.
Josephine Suglo, Agustina Gabue, Cynthia Yiriyella and Pascalina Tinga show off the bicycles they ride to school in northwest Ghana.

1. Bikes help girls in Ghana stay in school

Girls in rural areas of Ghana are desperate for education but miss out because of the dangerous and exhausting three-hour walk to school. ActionAid is providing bicycles so they can travel quickly and safely.

The only reason I am in school is the bicycle,” says Fusiena, 13, of northwest Ghana.

Learn how you can help.

2. Women reclaim the Tour de France

Emma Pooley and Chrissie Wellington, British cycling and Ironman stars, set up the 'Le Tour Entier' campaign to bring back the women's Tour de France – and it worked!

3. Cycling with cakes in Cambodia

“Anyone want to buy Num Thnout?” calls Neang Sarath, a farmer and cake baker from Svay Rieng in Cambodia, as she cycles through local villages. Her cakes are a delicious combination of fruit, sugar and sticky rice. ActionAid helped boost her business by providing a rice bank in her village. She can now borrow or buy rice at an affordable price.

Neang Sarath, 45, a farmer and a member of the community rice bank of ActionAid’s partner-ADIFE in Svay Rieng province.

4. Bikes and women's votes

During the women's suffrage movement in the early 20th century, cycling became a way to get around and campaign for the right to vote, and a symbol of new freedoms.

Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance.” Susan Anthony, American civil rights leader and key player in the suffrage movement.

Freedom by bike (The Netherlands). Photo: Nikki Varkevisser/Creative Commons

5. Round the world in 152 days

Annie Londonderry from Boston was the first woman to cycle round the world in 1894. She completed the challenge in 15 months! But 120 years later and it's Juliana Buhring who has the official title. She finished her cycle in 2012 after just 152 days and is in the Guiness Book of Records. 

Inspired by the power of women's cycling? Buy a bike and help girls in Ghana get an education.

Until 25 June, the UK government will match every donation you make to ActionAid's She CAN… appeal. Two bikes for the price of one!