Home' HR Monthly : October 2014 Contents COVER: DIVERSITY IN SPORT
October 2014 HRMonthly 21
AHRI’s Inclusion and
Diversity Conference, on
30 October 2014, will focus
on building management
practices in the areas of
diversity and inclusion.
It aims to build on the
skills and knowledge
of HR practitioners
who are responsible
for the diversity and
inclusion function in their
30 October 2014
24 October 2014.
HAVE YOUR SAY
If you’d like to share your
inclusion and diversity
stories, or read the
personal accounts of
others, visit AHRI’s LinkedIn
inclusion discussion group.
of football codes, I point to the inherent missed
opportunities of limiting yourself to only half the pool
of available talent,” says Mostyn.
“Investing in diverse groups of people is one of the
best ways to ensure the growth and sustainability of
the industry and its enduring relationship with the
community. We need to move well beyond the old
debates of tokenism and political correctness.”
Dorothy Hisgrove, the AFL’s general manager of
people, customer and community, says the key for
driving social change is to be genuine.
“A lot of policies look fantastic, and people spend
days at think tanks and strategic development talks, but
I think it is visible leadership and role modelling that
will make things happen.”
The homogeneous model of leadership is a self-
perpetuating route to implosion, and the challenges lie
in pushing the boundaries and leadership being prepared
to be visible and stand by its convictions, says Hisgrove.
Unconscious bias training for leaders can be a
powerful awareness tool, she says.
While progress is being made in the acceptance
of Indigenous people in sport, the issue for those
identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and
intersex (LGBTI) is still in its infancy.
Our most celebrated sports perpetuate hyper-
masculine stereotypes where brutality and toughness
are revered, injuries are worn as a badge of honou r, and
awards nights glorify handsome sports stars and their
sexy female partners.
But the sexuality inequity issue has been gaining
momentum with the outcry at the Sochi Olympics
over Russia’s anti-homosexual ‘propaganda’ laws, the
coming out of former Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe
and Sydney’s hosting in August of the Bingham Cup,
the World Cup of gay rugby, at which 32 international
Bingham Cup Sydney president, A ndrew Pu rchas,
a corporate law yer and founder of Sydney’s fi rst
rugby union club for gays, the Sydney Convicts, used
the World Cup opportunity to put a spotlight on
homophobia in sport.
The result was a national framework for
anti-homophobia and inclusion policies, with a
history-making commitment by the four major football
codes, plus Cricket Australia, to take action to abolish
homophobia in their sports. The initiative recommends
six pillars for an effective policy: dissemination and
training, sanctions and reporting, implementation,
review and responsibility, leadership and partnerships.
Purchas says a policy must be driven both from
the top and the bottom, but warns that the biggest
resistance to change is likely to come from the middle.
“That’s usually where there’s the most number of
people, and it can be that they are not used to doing
Play By the Rules is a broadly backed national
campaign promoting safe, fair and inclusive sport. Its
website is full of resources which, by the end of the year,
are expected to include a rating tool where clubs can get
a snapshot of how inclusive they are.
Play By the Rules manager Peter Downs says
seven core elements are necessary to be included on
the website: access, attitude, choice, partnerships,
communication, policy and opportunities.
He says culture is habits built up over time, and often
the hardest part in bringing about change is knowing
how to start.
“Forty per cent of what we do, we don’t think about,
such as how we talk,” says Downs.
“ We aren’t purposely excluding, but the habits are
why it happens.”
He recommends starting with the weakest pillars and
getting dialogue happening in those areas. »
“WHEN I AM CHALLENGED ABOUT
THE LEGITIMACY OF WOMEN ON THE
BOARDS OR SENIOR MANAGEMENT
OF FOOTBALL CODES, I POINT
TO THE INHERENT MISSED
OPPORTUNITIES OF LIMITING
YOURSELF TO ONLY HALF THE POOL
OF AVAILABLE TALENT.”
SAM MOSTYN, THE AFL’S FIRST
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