Speakers at Leading Change lunch advocate for women

AT Richmond Football Club, 32 per cent of its database and members are females.

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission’s Catherine Dixon, Richmond Football Club chief executive Brendan Gale and comedian Nelly Thomas were guest speakers at a Leading Change lunch. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission’s Catherine Dixon, Richmond Football Club chief executive Brendan Gale and comedian Nelly Thomas were guest speakers at a Leading Change lunch. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER

By 2025, it wants that figure to be 50 per cent.

The Tigers are also the pilot club for an Australian Sports Commission study into the barriers facing women taking more prominent roles in elite sport.

“We’ve talked the talk, now we’ve got to walk the walk,” Richmond Football Club chief executive officer Brendan Gale said. “We passionately believe in the power of people to make a culture change.”

Mr Gale was a guest speaker at the Leading Change lunch, organised by Women’s Health Grampians with Leadership Ballarat and Western Region, Commerce Ballarat and the Australian Industry Group.

He was joined by Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission commissioners office director Catherine Dixon, comedian and health promotion speaker Nelly Thomas, and Kylie, an advocate against family violence who spoke about her personal situation.

Mr Gale said Richmond was also passionate about diversity, as any organisation performed better if it had a wider skill set.

“Sex Discrimination Commissioner Liz Broderick said: ‘You can’t be who you can’t see.’ If women can’t see women in leadership positions, they won’t see themselves in those positions.”

Ms Dixon said there was still an unconscious gender bias in society.

“We teach babies from birth that boys and girls are different, but not equal,” Ms Dixon said.

Ms Dixon said there was also still a gender pay gap, with women paid on average $298.10 a week less than men across Australia. “By paying women less, we’re saying they’re worth less.”

Ms Thomas said Women’s Health Grampians was asking people to help, not just throw their hands up at the statistics, which showed Ballarat had a 50 per cent higher domestic violence rate than the state average.

“The key question is: ‘What are we going to do about it’? We want you to walk out the door and change the world.”

fiona.henderson@fairfaxmedia.com.au