I am summarizing here---but it seems that, as Sylvia pointed out, women are fairly well represented in the ?upper echelon? of bonsai. However, there are still less women then men across the board; whether that be in clubs, online forums, etc.
Joanie stated in a post above, ?Men call men out, but most women would prefer to back down. Generally speaking, women do better in environments where civility is the tone. We expect civility like men expect a minimum amount of hygiene.? This particular quote got me to thinking about a generational (and sometimes social) difference.
Going back to personal, non-bonsai examples:
On Backing Down: I can tell you that for every woman I know (in my age group and younger) who prefer to ?back down? in a boisterous debate or confrontation I could name 3 men (in my age group or younger) who feel the same. It was other female role models in my life who inspired me into the world of vocal debate, and I (and they) back down to no man. The women in my life are, for the most part, at-level (or above) men in debate and confrontation.
On Civility: ?Civility? is very subjective. I can tell you that what is considered ?civil? debate or discussion to me may well be lightyears from what a 50+ year old woman may consider civil. This is another generational (and arguably social) difference that we all assume we can define. It?s like the word ?moral? in politics.
Finally, On Men?s Hygiene: Don?t laugh---I know that Joanie was making a light-hearted remark here---but, really, it is quite generational, too. I am of the generation of ?Queer Eye for the Straight Guy? and the ?metrosexual? man. Many men I know primp a heck of a lot more than I do.
Basically, the point I am trying to make is this: as the ?gender gap? has closed quite a bit over the course of the last decades, is it at all possible that the future of bonsai may well be filled with women? When age is considered before sex, as I stated in my last post on this thread, I am one of the youngest members of my local club. If that is a representative slice of the bonsai world pie and people generally do not enter into this art until they are perhaps a bit older (with a home and a backyard in which to care for their trees), then will we indeed see a rise in the participation of women as my generation ages? This is, of course, assuming that a main reason less women participate in the first place is that they prefer not to either socialize or compete on-level with men. This could be very flawed, and admittedly, I am unsure that it is a compelling argument.
One last note. In the post above Joanie has linked to a very interesting study of female vs. male classroom participation and the psychology thereof. The article is dated 1985. I wonder how different that study would be if performed today.