Gender bias still a big player in sport

On the Job: Star coach wants shift in “weight of numbers”

Australia’s most capped netball coach, Lisa Alexander, says it’s time the “weight of numbers” shifted.

The highly experienced former Australian Diamonds boss recently applied for the now-filled senior coaching position at AFL club North Melbourne and was told she wouldn’t be receiving an interview.

“I was very politely written back to – probably within a week –
and it said thank you, but we’re really after a senior coach with AFL head coaching experience,” Alexander explained to On the Job with Francis Leach & Sally Rugg.

There were no hard feelings with club or process, but the 55-year-old feels the mixed reaction to her application should prompt a wider re-think for any selection process, across all industries.

“People sort of felt I was being arrogant by not applying for an AFLW head coaching position but I’m not really, I’m just trying to match what I think what my skills are to a position,” she said.

“I think we need to look at the way that we appoint people to positions. Are we applying far too much bias to our interview process … are we really investigating the strengths of people and what they could bring to an organisation?

“Young people today are just not going to accept what we accepted in the old days about authority.

“They want to be inspired. They want to work for leaders who they respect and who behave in a really ethical and courageous manner and I think that means we really need to cast the net wipe when we are appointing people.

“All it is is weight of numbers. It’s having more women tradies, more women pilots, it’s having more women in parliament. And where it just becomes a normal thing, it won’t be looked upon with such suspicion.”

Listen to the full interview with Lisa Alexander and make your working life better by subscribing to the new podcast On the Job with Francis Leach & Sally Rugg.

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