While the name ‘Male Champions of Change’ irks me somewhat, it has always been clear that women in sport need male allies, even if just purely because men have been running the show for so long. Until they’re willing to share the stage, we were never going to achieve equality in sport.
Setting up this collective is definitely a step in the right direction! And with sex discrimination commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick running the show, the blokes are in good hands. What do YOU think?
There are unacceptably low levels of women in leadership at elite-level sport and we want to use our collective influence to drive some meaningful change – Brendon Gale, CEO of AFL club Richmond and an instigator of the elite sport male champions of change group.
“It’s a sad state of affairs that firstly there is a need for a group such as this and secondly, that it needs to be labelled in such a way as to imply women – like damsels in distress – need men to champion their cause.
“However, if we get past that, the more important and overriding factor IS that the issue is being raised and it is being addressed. Very pleasing!!
“We have come a long way in the fight to have the voice of women taken seriously in sport – be it on the field, in the change rooms, coach’s box, administration offices or the boardroom. The latter intrigues me the most as the decision making process, exchange of ideas and considered opinions has so little to do with gender – it has to do with the ability to think, discern, consider – all things which are void of the effects of gender except for the crucial element of perspective. And diversity in perspective is, I would think, vital in the decision-making process at any level in an organisation.
“As for Women’s sport, it is not about women competing with men with regards their abilities being equal and therefore constantly compared for their value as a viable product or a watchable sport, it’s about realising they don’t have to compete. It’s about understanding and accepting that they are different.
“I can watch men’s basketball and women’s basketball – or cricket for that matter – while I am watching the same sport I don’t expect to be watching the same performances. I expect to be watching the same sport played in different ways, with different approaches and perspectives if you like.
“I look forward to seeing what comes from this group and thank the men who are taking a stand on this issue.”