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The question that’s been lingering in my mind ever since attending the Women Sport The Future event last week is, “How do we harness the International Women’s Day effect?” The event delved into the theme of “Harnessing the Matilda Effect – Turbocharging Future Sporting Equity,” presented by Women Sport Australia. It featured a diverse panel of experts, including elite athletes (both current and retired), journalists, commentators, and football club presidents. They discussed the increased visibility of women’s professional sport following the nation’s support for the Matildas and the Women’s World Cup last year, as well as the ongoing challenges in maintaining this collective excitement. 

In a similar vein, we should consider how to leverage the momentum generated by inspirational talks, insightful panels, Instagram stories, and media coverage during the International Women’s Day celebrations. It’s crucial to ensure that we continuously highlight women’s achievements and strive for meaningful change. 

International Women’s Day originated as a protest, a march, a movement—it’s about taking action. This year’s theme, “Count Her In: Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress,” is particularly pertinent. The recent report from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) underscores the urgency, revealing a median gender pay gap of 19%. This means women are paid 19% less than men for the same job. While progress is being made, it’s not happening fast enough. 

So, how can we shift from being part of the problem to being part of the solution? Here are some practical steps: 

  • If your organization has a gender pay gap identified by the WGEA, prioritize closing it immediately. 
  • If you tend to dominate conversations, practice active listening. Take a moment to pause, listen deeply, and act on what you’ve heard in consultation with women. 
  • Take steps to understand your own biases by taking a bias test from Harvard. 
  • Consume more content from a woman’s perspective. 
  • Amplify the voices of women of colour, individuals with diverse gender identities, those with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community. 
  • Educate yourself and others about the statistics surrounding gender equality and learn more about how to sustainably attract, select, develop and retain women 

Let’s remember the collective enthusiasm and unity we experienced during the Matildas World Cup campaign. It represented more than just a soccer match—it embodied the aspirations of today’s youth, showcasing female athletes at the peak of their game. The next time a female colleague presents a pitch, speaks up in the boardroom, or advocates for change, remember the courage and resilience it takes to challenge patriarchal norms and show your support.

By taking proactive steps and supporting women’s achievements, we can create a more equitable future for all. 

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