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AFL clubs urged to appoint women in leadership roles

AFL clubs urged to appoint women in leadership roles
May 9, 2014

The installation three women as the leaders of clubs within three to five years is a realistic goal, says AFL Commissioner Sam Mostyn. 

In a season where "everything's possible" has been celebrated, a report at AFL.com.au says that the League has taken some strong steps towards bringing more women into the game.

This follows the introduction of a key strategy from inside AFL headquarters that will roll out over the next three years focusing on gender diversity.

While the first club president - Richmond's Peggy O'Neal - was appointed last year, Mostyn has encouraged more clubs to be "courageous" in considering women for the role of chief executive and in key leadership groups.

Mostyn told AFL.com.au at the recent AFL Women's Industry Lunch "I think we should be bold and think about where those women are and can we start building succession within the industry or do we look outside the industry as many industries do when they're looking for business leaders?

"I just don't think we should hold ourselves to the thinking these are roles that can only be conducted by men and there are many women I think (who) would like to have a go at handing in their credentials to be considered."

AFL Commission Chairman Mike Fitzpatrick and newly appointed Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan have both identified the need for greater diversity within the game.

Fitzpatrick, speaking at the lunch, said that shift needed to "start from the top down".

The introduction of the gender diversity strategy, run by AFL General Manager Customer, Community and People Dorothy Hisgrove is designed to see more women appointed in leadership roles.

Hisgrove detailed the plan at the lunch and revealed a female advisory council, comprising of "pre-eminent male and female industry leaders from sporting and corporate backgrounds" would be established.

Mostyn, who became the first AFL Commissioner in 2005 before being joined by the Honourable Linda Dessau in 2008, said she would also like to see a national women's league "well on the way" to being established in the next three years.

But she said the installation of Geelong's Rosie King as stand-in Cats' Chief Executive last year showed clubs were starting to realise it wasn't a job "exclusively for the domain of men."

She also encouraged women outside of football to consider applying for such positions, adding "I think we're not using 50% of the talent pool of seasoned business people who probably don't realise they could turn their talents to running a football club as part of their business career.

"I think we should just be courageous about this and make sure we're looking at the broadest talent pool and that we've set ourselves some expectation that if there was a woman who wanted to, we would look at her and give her that opportunity at the right club at the right time."

The AFL has abolished themed rounds this year but the yearly lunch, held ahead of the recent Field of Women event at the MCG, featured a keynote speaker.

The Jill Lindsay Oration, delivered this year by Dr Judith Slocombe – Chief Executive of the Alannah and Madeline Foundation – is designed to honour the legacy of the late long-time AFL administrator.

Dr Slocombe, who has nine children, is on four boards and started her own veterinary diagnostic business that expanded to become the biggest across Australia and New Zealand before she sold it.

Her talk centered around keeping up the belief that everything was possible when juggling multiple responsibilities, and said she "found her own way to lead" in her number of roles.

Dr Slocombe stated "I didn't fit the traditional picture of a leader – that masculine vision of a leader that we have."

She said the AFL's gender diversity strategy was an "an exciting step" in the commitment to the increase of women's involvement, concluding "it will show a whole generation of young women that everything is possible."

Click here to view the original article published by Jennifer Phelan at AFL Media.

21st April 2014 - RICHMOND TIGERS LAUNCH RESEARCH BACKING WOMEN IN SPORT LEADERSHIP ROLES


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