Girls in management in sport remains to be the exception, not the rule

The excellent news is that we all know what we will do to handle this gender imbalance. Notably, we simply want workplaces to step up and break down the structural obstacles in our sporting system.

I used to be the primary feminine CEO in males’s skilled A-league soccer in Australia after I was appointed to the place of CEO of Perth Glory FC in 2005.

The circumstances that led to this had been uncommon. Once I was 31 years outdated and holidaying in Tanzania, my tour truck was held up by armed males. Till that time, I had dreamed of a profession in sport, but it surely had been precisely that — a dream. Whereas my profession might have been described as profitable, at the moment I needed extra.

The terribly violent incident in Tanzania in 2003 was a catalyst that compelled me to reassess my subsequent steps.

As with any male dominated industry, women need a culture that recognises their skills and the value of diversity.

As with every male dominated trade, ladies want a tradition that recognises their abilities and the worth of range.Credit score:PA

By the top of 2004, I used to be again in Australia as CEO of Soccer West, the governing physique for soccer in Western Australia.

It was a dream come true – and it occurred so quick. Nevertheless it wasn’t luck; I’d labored laborious to get to that place. I’d beforehand had a profession working in TV media organisations within the UK, and I’d all the time cherished soccer. I used to be the fitting individual for the job.

My profession continued to develop and I had many roles in soccer. After Perth Glory, I grew to become the top of main tasks for the Soccer Federation of Australia and I arrange the nationwide Westfield W-League — one in every of my profession highlights.


I’ve all the time been keen about ladies in sport. I grew up believing that women had been simply as succesful as boys in each their capability to play and lead. However as with every male-dominated trade or career, it’s about having alternatives to display your abilities and a tradition that recognises the worth of range.

At this time, I’m the CEO of YWCA Australia, a proud nationwide feminist organisation.

Dealing with the gender bias helps women reaching their full potential.

Coping with the gender bias helps ladies reaching their full potential.Credit score:Dion Georgopoulos

YWCA Australia is an intersectional feminist organisation targeted on enhancing gender equality for ladies, younger ladies and women. For 140 years, we now have challenged the techniques, buildings and insurance policies that act as obstacles to ladies, particularly younger ladies, reaching their full potential.

The work that YWCA does by means of the applications resembling Each Woman in South Australia and Women Almighty in New South Wales goal to construct that very same sense of shallowness, self-confidence and physique positivity by means of directed actions that discover particular person strengths and values, serving to bolster shallowness, a way of belonging, resilience, and understanding of their rights and skill to create change.

The feminist management work we do could appear a world away from the sporting world I was in, however there are key commonalities. Each have the identical outcomes when accomplished properly with various illustration on all ranges – they safe self-confidence, encourage neighborhood cohesion and have a optimistic affect on general well being.


A wide range of methods exist to assist equalise management alternatives for ladies throughout totally different sporting codes, and addressing the gender bias is an enabler to reaching our full potential.

When younger ladies dream about being the CEO of a soccer membership, they shouldn’t immediately assume that it’s a pipedream or that statistics are stacked towards them. They need to assume “I can do that”, and for this to occur we have to break down the structural obstacles in our sporting system – or as we wish to put it at YWCA, to smash the patriarchy!

Current leaders need to be open to talking about equality for change to happen.

Present leaders must be open to speaking about equality for change to occur.Credit score:Steven Siewert

As a place to begin, workplaces must recognise the important thing function they play in creating gender equitable communities and put methods in place to assist this. It gained’t come about in a single day, however with dedication, it might occur.

First, management should lead the change. For change to occur, present leaders must be prepared to speak about gender inequality, be open to doing issues otherwise and be dedicated to taking motion to construct equitable and fairer office.

Secondly, workers must be supported on this journey with techniques to construct their abilities and confidence in creating gender fairness by means of coaching, info classes and occasions, assets and communication.


Thirdly, organisations can start the work to embed gender fairness into their techniques and day-to-day operations. This might embody gender audits to determine areas of enchancment, making use of a gender lens to strategic planning and organisational insurance policies, reviewing versatile work practices, creating mentoring applications and beginning a staff-led gender fairness committee.

Integrating gender fairness rules into workplaces makes financial and enterprise sense and will be simply achieved with the fitting instruments, assist and dedication.

The pandemic has already created vital change to the best way many people work. Now’s the right time to proceed the change and decide to embedding gender fairness in our workplaces.

Michelle Phillips is CEO of the YWCA and was the primary feminine CEO of an Australian A-league soccer staff.

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