It will take more than a change of government to change the narrative for women from saying “Don’t judge me on my gender, judge me on my performance.”
And female jockey Michelle Payne may just be the person to do just that.
With her glorious victory as the jockey leading Prince of Penzance into history, not only did she give sisterhood a shot in the arm, she has stood up and out as a young, audacious female leader who has no illusions about the quality of female representation both on and off the track.
Her story of hardship and trial, coupled with love and support by her family has clearly demonstrated a strong mindset is more important than gender and gender is not what is important.
There are FIVE lessons businesses can learn from Michelle, demonstrating the strength of a mindset will ultimately reign triumphantly over gender.
- Do the work and identify the tangible and intangible blindspots in organisations, so gender or unconscious bias can once and for all be put on the corporate Agenda not just a meeting Agenda.
- Where there is ambiguity around what people really want and are prepared to commit in regards to a formal inclusive gender policy, encourage everyone to become an active contributor to the conversation by going company-wide in blogs, meetings, intranet, and in championing groups.
- If people only engage in superficial conversations, educate them by immersion into other experiences, broadening their perspectives and understanding. Change their mind by changing their experience.
- Showcase global best practice demonstrating commercial value of gender equality and consequences of still operating with a mentality of the dark ages.
- Call behaviours out loud if you feel people are loosening their standards or are just bystanders in this conversation.
If Michelle Payne had allowed those who did not believe a female could ride with the same expertise as a male or could represent the integrity of the Melbourne Cup, she would not have followed her dream and passion.
If you are still unsure about whether or not gender balance is important for your business, ask yourself if any of the leaders you admire got to where they are just on their gender or, if in fact passion and dreams played an integral part in winning.
If the answer is yes, then you follow the FIVE steps above and close the gender gap.
If the answer is no, then perhaps consider a monastery, convent, or ashram where silence is golden.
Ricky Nowak is a high energy and dynamic Certified Corporate Trainer, Workplace Assessor and Behind Closed Doors Facilitator whose 25 years of corporate experience makes training sessions come alive with real learning. She is passionate about developing authentic business leaders and inspires the participants to contribute comfortably as she connects and communicates naturally with them.