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  • Writer's pictureSkye Deane

Having a seat at the table

On Saturday 10th April, history was made yet again by Rachael Blackmore. The first woman jockey to win the Grand National. Why is this so significant?

Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) were highlighted as barriers in our research in March 2020. Alongside unconscious bias these were seen as key factors preventing women reaching high performance.

Gill Whitty-Collins says, in her book ‘Why Men Win at Work’:

‘As a society we’re still in a denial that gender equality is a big issue, so we deflate the discussion. D& I is often seen as an enhancement and not as a core business success .

How on earth are we connecting this with horse racing?

Why has it taken so long for a female jockey to have the success that Rachael Blackmore is having now? For her to have a seat at the table? To be heard? To be able to make a difference?

Rachael Blackmore has had to be exceptional and now she is able to give other women permission to be a bit better than average and still get a chance. This is paving the way for women jockeys.

Claire Balding OBE, when interviewed on Women’s Hour said:

‘Maybe in 10 years time, we’ll have 10 female jockeys, out of a field of 40, racing in the Grand National. Everyone will realise that female jockeys are naturally a stone lighter, they can build core strength, they can build muscle and still not be too heavy and they will not have to sweat and diet every day which we know affects mind and body. This will give so many more the opportunity to move up a level.’

Claire Balding OBE goes on to talk about unconscious bias and, how the horse racing world was saying, ‘we have equal opportunities and meritocracy’ but it’s not equal if you’re not given the same level of horses to ride. It’s only equal if given a ride on the best horses.

Horseracing is having a moment where they are benefiting from true D&I, enabling meritocracy to win and jockeys like Rachael to have a voice.

IN LEADERSHIP, we need to ensure that everyone who is ‘at the table’ can share and have a voice. They are there because of who they are and what they do, as leaders we need to make sure they are fully up to the table and are being actively listened to and recognised aswell.

A fellow Resilient Leaders Consultant describes it as:-

· Diversity is having the seat at the table

· Inclusion is having a voice at the table

· Equity is being heard at the table

Rachael Blackmore works incredibly hard to get where she is and have the success she’s had, meritocracy in this case has won out. When you know you’ve been heard you FEEL significant and that you matter. If you’re not heard then the opposite is true and self worth drops like a stone.

When YOUR talents get recognised, how are you or will you push forward to ensure you get a seat at the table, use your voice and be heard?

To give you the confidence to be heard, we’d love to help you so do give us a call.

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