Catherine Deveny’s Pushy Women forum is back! We spoke to panel member Karen Pickering about being hell on two wheels
Who knew the bicycle played such a significant role in women’s rights? Back in the 1890s, when the suffragette movement was gaining momentum, cycling among women was becoming popular. Discovering an unprecedented freedom, women were able to attend political meetings at their own whim.
Recognising this history, Pushy Women brings together writers, comedians, thinkers and performers to share tales about their love of the wheels. Now in its third year, Pushy Women returns with two shows, featuring a top-notch line-up of local funny women Catherine Deveny, Kate Langbroek, Nelly Thomas, Bev Killick, Genevieve Morris, Monica Dux, Chloe Shorten, Van Badham and “resident femo” Karen Pickering.
“I’m quite evangelical about bikes,” says Pickering, who hosts monthly feminist talk show Cherchez la Femme and is a regular organiser of SlutWalk – a march against sexual assault and victim blaming. “I like being part of this semi-religious push for them.” Last year, she led a Pushy Women excursion, Tour de Suburbs, showing a group of riders around the streets of Brunswick. Deveny asked her to come back, this time for the forum.
“It’s a really fun event,” she says. “I find women who love bikes generally love talking about them. But being a feminist organiser, I also see a political element to it.”
To Pickering, who gets around on a powder-blue cruiser, bikes are a tool of empowerment. “Whenever I see women on bikes I feel happy that they’re independent and taking up space in public and doing what they want, getting around in a way that’s making them happy and healthy,” she says.
The afternoon will be a laugh, Pickering says, and she warns that things are almost certain to get a little unruly. “When Catherine puts together an event she loves putting together really diverse line-ups,” she says, “but what the women usually have in common is that they’re pretty mouthy and straightforward, lots of fun and maybe sometimes a little bit risqué. Anytime you get together with that many brassy babes you know it’s going to be a good time.”
There are two Pushy Women events - you can also catch Pushy Women South, although Karen won't be appearing:
Pushy Women South, Gasworks, Sun Mar 2 at 4pm. $25-35.