Our club ladders get almost no action, neither the men's nor the women's. The problem is that it is up to people to challenge and schedule their own matches. Some people won't accept challenges, others are too busy.
The most successful ladder I was in years ago was held on a Sunday afternoon, and those who could not make it then could schedule matches with each other at another time. Everyone was supposed to play everyone else. It was really more of a singles league than a ladder.