• Spring racing: equal opportunity boss slams sexism in racing

    Date: 2019.06.19 | Category: 南京夜网 | Tags:

    Michelle Payne before her ride on Akzar at the Kyneton Cup. Photo: Joe ArmaoVictoria’s Equal Opportunity and Human Rights commissioner is calling on the horseracing industry to review sexism in the sport she suspects is “deep seated”, and highlighted by pioneering Melbourne Cup winner Michelle Payne.
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    Kate Jenkins, overseeing an investigation into sexism within Victoria’s police force as head of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, has applauded Payne for bravely raising discrimination she still encounters in what the rider termed a “chauvinistic sport”.

    “She [Payne] has described, I think, a phenomenon of gender inequality that exists across our entire community,” said Jenkins, also convener of the Victorian Male Champions of Change group established this year and recent appointee to Carlton Football Club’s board.

    “My hope would be that this is something that spotlights racing, and lets racing take leadership in the sporting world to do something differently.”

    In the television broadcast of the 155-year-old, world-famous horse race, Payne spoke immediately after her unprecedented victory of the doubters. She said “some of the owners” of winning horse Prince Of Penzance “were keen to kick me off” and, in triumph, said such detractors could “get stuffed”.

    Jenkins told Fairfax Media the fact Payne broached such a thorny topic in her first interview “was reflective of a woman with lifetime experience of discrimination and chauvinism in a sport”.

    “Then she really recognised her supporters – who were men – who had really encouraged her,” Jenkins said.

    “So she was really clear recognising that they had really backed her … but the interesting thing that she did, that is often not done, is she that she then said – and named – people who had been in opposition to her because she is a woman.”

    Payne’s comments are resonating so strongly, Jenkins said, because they are not only true, but brave. “It’s hard to speak out, particularly when you’re a woman … against a tide that’s saying ‘no, we don’t discriminate, you’re getting equal opportunities, it’s just that you’re not as capable for whatever reason’.”

    Jenkins surmised Payne spoke as she did because “she’s obviously a very resilient, supported person who has got there despite some of the barriers”.

    The VEOHRC boss suspects Payne may have felt especially uninhibited because of “the true power that she had in that moment”.

    “Ultimately she had won the Melbourne Cup,” Jenkins said.

    “In the world of business you don’t get to win a Melbourne Cup and turn around and say: ‘see, I proved you wrong’. But sport gives that unique opportunity to say that despite all of your negative views about women I’ve proven you wrong.”

    Jenkins said Payne risks incurring backlash for putting the spotlight on a topic many find uncomfortable.

    “I don’t know how it will be viewed within the racing industry. But based on other industries and organisations that I’ve worked with on gender inequality there are quite mixed views on whether it’s an issue, and if it’s an issue whether it should be exposed for public examination.

    “The backlash often, I think, reflects the very sexism that is the problem. The idea of ‘why are you making a big fuss?’

    “But where the leadership is keen for change, and can see the problems, that’s when action actually happens.”

    The general manager of the Australian Jockeys  Association, Des O’Keeffe, who has worked in racing for more than three decades, applauded Payne for bringing attention to the topic.

    “I’d say to any owner or trainer out there who still has that ingrained perception [of female jockeys being inferior to male jockeys]: ‘open your eyes, look a bit deeper than you might have in the past and see how incredibly well any number of women are doing in this sport, highlighted by a ride yesterday where Michelle just completely nailed it in the most competitive two-mile race in the world’.

    “There’s no doubt they [doubters] are out there. Michelle had that feeling and I know that’s not an uncommon feeling.”

    While O’Keeffe acknowledged ongoing discrimination of female jockeys, he said horseracing had been no worse in the past than politics or the media in Australia.

    “Horseracing is doing better than the former PM’s front bench and it’s doing better than AM radio,” O’Keeffe said.

    “And it is probably doing better than a lot of other professional sports.”

    Female jockeys were first allowed to ride in Australia in 1979. Four women ridden in the Melbourne Cup since.

    “To have had only four women jockeys since then just really demonstrates to me that there must be deep-seated sexism in the industry,” Jenkins said.

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