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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

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!