Now that spring is over and a sort of summer has arrived I have had time to explore this issue a little further. Of the 32 people I know who enjoy bonsai 11 are women. I created a simple survey and sent it to all the women on my list. Here are the results:
1. What level of knowledge do you feel you have?
Beginner_1_ Basic_2_ Intermediate_8_ Master__
2. How would you describe you involvement?
Very involved daily, and loving all aspects_7_
Somewhat involved, if the right tree comes along_1_
Involved, but not looking to increase my collection_2_
Somewhat disinterested, I keep them alive, but?_1_
Bored with bonsai, please come take my trees__
3. How many trees are you currently working on?
How many are in basic training? 1-10__ 11-25_7_ 26-50_4_ 51-100__ 100+__
How many are in intermediate stages? 1-10_6_ 11-25_1_ 26-50_4_ 51-100__ 100+__
How many are ?finished?? 1-10_11_ 11-25__ 26-50__ 51-100__ 100+__
4. Do you belong to a bonsai club? Yes_2_ No_9_
If NO, why?
?Meetings too far away or at inconvenient times? was the reply from 3 women.
?Did not feel comfortable at the meeting? was the reply from 2 women.
?I was not taken seriously or put down? was the reply from 2 women.
?I went to partake, not serve as a gofer? was the reply from 1 woman.
?If another guy tried to hit on me, I would have used me knob-cutters on him? was the reply from 1 woman.
5. Do you frequent an online forum? Yes_1_ No_10_
If Yes which ones?
If No why not?
?I do not have time, my trees get my attention? was the reply from 5 women.
?Who wants to read online arguments of self-appointed ?masters?
was the reply from 3 women.
?I have not found an ?Online Master? who I would want to learn from?
was the reply from 2 woman.
6. Do you think the bonsai community is open and accessible to women? Yes_4_ No_7_
If No, why not? ?I do not think I am taken seriously in bonsai? was the reply from 5 women.
?It appears to be the last bastion of the ?Good-Old-Boys-Club?
was the reply from 1 woman.
?It took a long time to find a club where I was accepted as an equal?
was the reply from 1 woman
While the survey is antidotal in nature and of a very small sampling, the response rate was 100%. I have condensed the comments as most of the women gave very lengthy ones. I e-mailed the condensations for their approval before posting here. The women are mostly in the United States (8) with the others in England (1), France (1) and Argentina (1). England and France supplied the 2 yes answers to question 4, and 2 of the Yes responses to question 6 (the other 2 yes answers to question 6 were from the United States). The 1 yes on question 5 was from Argentina. The comments alluding to sexual harassment came from women in the United States.
The raw data is a bit light, so I plan to send it out to some of the women I know from the online forums, as I believe that could give a broader image.