Old territory this isn't it? My views haven't changed from the original threads. I feel that the most inclusive way of reaching out to those 'overawed' (and, like Geoff and mjr, I know that feeling) would be to have a beginners (no such thing as a silly question) section of the forum.
Trying to stick to facts, I think the women's section has been successful as a collection of topics relevant to female cyclists: women's bikes, women's events, women's clothing and saddles etc. In this respect it functions like the "too good to lose" section or the various special interests sections(cycle training; mountain biking; tandems, recumbents etc). It seems that some of the women who use the forum find this section a useful resource.
OTOH, it has clearly failed to have the other desired effect of attracting new female posters to the forum who would otherwise be dissuaded by the perceived male-dominance of the other forum sections. Regular posters within this section also post elsewhere on the forum and were AFAIK all members before the existence of the section. The few maiden posters have posted about women-specific issues which indicates that they have been posted in the women's section because it was the most appropriate forum rather than due to a hesitance to post elsewhere.
pjclinch wrote:For some values of "ghetto" and "ineffective". If you just go by volume of post then e.g. the National Standards Training is an "ineffective ghetto", but as one of the few people using it I find it useful. As a couple of the people this area is specifically not aimed at I don't think we're in a position to judge if it's either of the things you've decided it is.
Unfortunately the section doesn't appear to have brought in any new members to ask! We could wait around a decade or so for a small group of regular female posters to develop who had all posted first in this section and then their views could be taken. Unfortunately that might just be a very biased sample. I think we can objectively look at the quantity and type of participation and say that it has not drawn in new members on anything like the scale anticipated. Nor has a community developed of women who were reluctant to post elsewhere.