More than 100 people from all corners of the country attended a webinar on July 21 to hear three trailblazing women deliver some clear calls to action on achieving gender equity in sport.
Australian Sports Commission Chair Josephine Sukkar AM, Taskforce & Engagement Lead at the AIS Jayde De Bondt and General Manager for People & Culture at Motorsport Australia Tamara Joy shared their personal experiences and delivered pertinent advice.
The ‘On the Couch’ session formed part of Sport Australia’s Women Leaders in Sport program which to date has supported more than 25,000 women.
Ms Sukkar said every person irrespective of their role has the power to influence change.
”It’s important to firstly understand what the actual blockages are and then be part of the solution rather than just grandstanding,” Ms Sukkar said.
Ms De Bondt agreed, adding that it was important to build allies in the workforce.
”If you have power within your organisation, I encourage you to consider how you can use that power to influence and shape the culture to become more supportive and equitable for everyone,” she said.
”We need to elevate each other’s voices, mentor emerging leaders and look for opportunities to support one another.
The focus then turned to organisations and what steps need to be taken from the top end.
Ms Joy who’s become an unstoppable force at Motorsport Australia after working with the CEO to shake up a long-standing culture shared her top tips.
”It’s important to involve men and women in these conversations. Then embed gender equity right across the organisation – into your strategic plan, policies and practices,” Ms Joy said.
”Organisations also need to have a diverse group of people involved in their recruitment process…and offer a range of professional development opportunities for staff.
Ms De Bondt said North Melbourne Football Club were leading the charge in this space after launching a Gender Equality Action Plan in 2018 – the first sporting club in Australia to do so.
”The Gender Equality Working Group developed ten clear priorities around recruitment, retention, the promotion of women, challenging attitudes and so forth.”
Just three years on and the results are astounding.
”When I started at the organisation there were 12 women in the Football Department and following the development of the action plan there was 36 when I left. When I started there was one woman on our Executive team and when I left there was equal representation,” she said.
The webinar was made all the more special with the announcement that Queensland would host the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
”We’re about to look down the barrel of a significant investment in this nation that is going to go on well past 2032,” Ms Sukkar said.
When the panel were asked to share their vision for 2032, Ms De Bondt summed it up perfectly.
”I’d love to no longer be needing these conversations because our sporting cultures are supportive and inclusive,” she stated.