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My research into the conditions for women working in the Australian sporting sector began in 2017 out of a curiosity to go beyond my experiences and observations and to understand the reality for women working in the sporting sector.

With my background as a corporate executive and sporting director and experience as a gender diversity expert, I thought I would not be surprised by the data. On the contrary, I was staggered—the statistics relating to gender inequality in the Australian sporting sector were much worse than I had anticipated.

I was astounded by the gaps in sheer numbers and lack of parity, especially in pay. And so, I decided to go beyond the existing data and conduct my own research, which shed light on the endemic issues, barriers and systematic discrimination faced by women in the sporting sector.

For example, 70% of women in sports who responded to our surveys believed their gender had caused them to miss out on a salary increase, promotion, or chance to get ahead.

Yet, while women working in the sporting sector tell me they feel disadvantaged by their gender when advancing their careers in the sporting sector, they persist! Why?

  1. Because they are committed to doing challenging and inspiring work
  2. Because they want to make a difference in the world, and they understand that sport can achieve this
  3. Because they are committed to helping their sporting organisation excel and grow

Leaders in the sporting sector generally have good intent and a desire to make a change for the better with regard to women, inclusion and diversity. However, the maturity of the sporting sector is low relative to other sectors when it comes to initiating and driving enduring strategies and positive change for women in leadership.

That is why my research and this podcast exist. So that sporting leaders have a blueprint for action that is grounded in evidence and will the means to address the significant underrepresentation of women in leadership — on and off the field — in the Australian sporting sector.

I hope you both enjoy listening to the episodes and use them as a tool in your gender equality toolkit for your workplace - whether it's in sports or not!

You can read my first two research reports by clicking the links below:

Moving Gender Diversity from Conversation to Action

Tapping into Progressive Attitudes

Listen to Lead to Soar

Apr 28, 2022

Click the links below to listen to a sample of our episodes. To subscribe, simply head to the Lead to Soar page.

Lead to Soar Podcast

Apr 28, 2022

Lead to Soar is a podcast for career women looking to advance inside an organization (i.e. working for companies, governments, non-profits). Lead to Soar is hosted and executive produced by Michelle Redfern and Mel Butcher. 

Lead to Soar is a production of A Career that Soars!

Apr 26, 2022

About Dr Hannah Macdougall 

Hannah Macdougall is a dual Paralympian and previous World Record Holder, representing Australia in swimming and cycling. She also co-captained the Australian Swimming Team at the 2006 World Championships and the 2008 Paralympic Games.  

Hannah has completed a Bachelor of Exercise and...

Apr 19, 2022

About Professor Emma Sherry  

Emma Sherry is a Professor at Swinburne University, specialising in the field of Sport Development, and is Chair of the Department for Management and Marketing in the Swinburne Business School. Emma also sits on the board of Tennis Victoria, for which she held presidency from...

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About Allison Dodd 

Allison Dodd is a seasoned cricket admininistrator and is currently President of the Strathmore Cricket Club. She has played her part in various roles over her time with the club, including Secretary, Committee Member, and Head of Membership. Allison also has over 15 years of senior management...