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In the shadow of the Olympics

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In the shadow of the Olympics  article image

Following the Olympics, blogger Cynthia Balogh looks at the difference between men and women in the international sporting arena. As we know the incredibly successful Australian women’s basketball team, was relegated to flying economy to the London Olympics, while the men’s team, much less effective on the world stage, flew business class. Australia was in good company. Japan’s star female football team suffered a similar fate, while their male counterparts, again, much less successful, enjoyed the comforts of business class on the flight to London.  Media headlines in Australia expressed some "outrage" and "double standards" for a couple of days, but such blatant discrimination against successful women was quickly eclipsed by other Olympic events. Where was the indignation from Australian women’s organisations? Why wasn’t there more noise coming from high profile women? Are women settling to stay in the shadows, not put themselves forward, afraid to challenge the status quo? During the Olympics we became used to seeing Australian women on the podiums proudly receiving their well-earned medals. But these successes rarely translate into sponsorship dollars or media coverage for female sports once they come back home. Where else do we see diligent, effective, productive women achieving exceptional results, not receiving the recognition they deserve? In business, women still lag 17 percent behind men in equal pay for equal work. The representation of women in senior executive roles in companies has basically been stagnant for two decades. Women running their own businesses struggle to access capital and experience in general slower growth than men. There are some notable well known exceptions of highly successful women, who have concomitant high profiles. But they are a tiny minority. There are so many more extraordinary businesswomen who have no public profile outside of their niche market. They unintentionally stunt their own progress and the growth of their business by not communicating to a broader audience. Australian’s are not known for self-promotion but one of the best ways of getting ahead is telling others what a good job you have done. This is equally so for promoting your business - you need to tell everyone who will listen that your company does good work. Perhaps if more Australian women did this, sporting and business organisations alike wouldn’t assume that an inferior standard of anything was acceptable to women.

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