interview with Laurent Girard, founder of the Media-Pitchounes association
Louise Vignaud, journalist of Carenews, receives in this episode Laurent Girard, founder of the Toulouse Média-Pitchounes association
#CeuxQuiFont is the podcast for engagement actors. A program to discover a solution imagined by an association to face the great challenges of our societies and give you the means to support their action. While the women’s Tour de France will experience its first edition from 24 to 31 July 2022 in Toulouse, Louise Vignaud, journalist of Carenews, receives in this episode Laurent Girard, founder of the Toulouse Média-Pitchounes association, which aims at education to citizenship through sports and media. Since 2019, the association has been developing cycling for women in the priority neighborhoods of urban policy through the “Bagat’Elles Bike – TMES” program.
Whether it is sports competitions or simple city trips, cycling is still predominantly practiced by men. A large CNRS study conducted by a geographer in the metropolis of Bordeaux in 2018 revealed that only 38% of cyclists were women. Several factors can explain these gaps, mainly gender norms and the feeling of insecurity experienced by women in public spaces. For women in working-class neighborhoods, there is also geographic distance and the cost of equipment.
How to lift the brakes and allow women from the popular neighborhoods to practice cycling?
“When you live in a neighborhood, you live like in a village. And it’s true that when you’re not transported, you don’t move out of your neighborhood, you don’t know what’s going on around. Since we created this program, women have noticed that the neighborhood touches the center of Toulouse. Some participants come to collect their bicycles to go with their friends to the city. We see more self-confidence and independence for these women. »Laurent Girard, founder of Media-Pitchounes.
The Media-Pitchounes association was born in 2005 in the priority district of Bagatelle, south of Toulouse. The association carries out educational projects on the theme of sport for young people aged 10 to 18, and allows them to learn about sports journalism through the production of reports and broadcasts. Since 2009 the association has been carrying out the “Le Tour au pied des tours” project. Thanks to this operation, more than 210 young people have lived immersed in the heart of the Grande Boucle. Since 2019, Média-Pitchounes has been developing the “Bagat’Elles Bike – TMES” program, a section for adult women in the Bagatelle district.
Develop the place of women in sport and in the priority neighborhoods of city politics
The “Bagat’Elles Bike – TMES” program was conceived by girls from the neighborhood, who took part in media workshops for young people held by Média-Pitchounes. They wanted to allow their mothers to practice cycling.
The program now has three objectives to remove obstacles to cycling by women in this working-class neighborhood of Toulouse:
- Promote the mobility of women through the practice of cycling (free time)
- Facilitate the accessibility of club cycling in territories where it is absent
- Position young women as ambassadors of cycling in working-class neighborhoods.
This sports section also aims to change the rather closed mindsets of the image of women found in these neighborhoods, in particular as regards sport in general, but even more so cycling, which symbolizes independence, self-confidence and emancipation. We could add health, well-being, the reasons for creating this section in the center of Bagatelle are many.
Specifically, what is the “Bagat’Elles Bike – TMES” program?
This program is divided into several phases to promote regular cycling:
- Two mornings a week, from learning driving to perfecting your skills
- Regular cycling / biking sessions on the ZWIFT platform
- Wednesday afternoon will be free for women and mothers to choose to accompany their children on our usual outings.
- Awareness of eco-gestures: cooking workshops (making energy bars)
- Road safety and prevention laboratories
- Learn to keep the bike
In addition to activities related to learning and mastering cycling, the association organizes various events. Thus, for 4 years, on the occasion of international women’s rights dayorganizes Media-Pitchhounes Day “by bike”. promote and develop women’s cycling within the district. The association provides free bicycles to local women. In 2021, 120 daughters, mothers, sisters, neighbors or girlfriends took part in this operation to learn how to handle a bicycle. Three excursions of 15, 30 and 60 km were organized.
In 2022 the women and girls of the Bagat’elles Bike – TMES section will cover the last 10 kilometers of a stage of the road to Occitania. This operation is renewed every year to promote women’s cycling. This year 50 will open the way for male runners on Friday 17 June 2022 on the roads of the Gers.