Carol Fox is Director Carol Fox & Co. Confident Communication for Leaders, Director Principal Consultant and Trainer Life Performance and President & Chair of Women Sport Australia. Carol has worked as a performance coach, speaker and trainer for over 20 years with sport and corporate clients. She was one of Australia’s first professional female lifeguards, and a state level swimmer and water polo player so has a personal understanding of the mindset of elite athletes.
Carol’s Master’s Thesis: “Women’s Perceived Barriers To Elite Coaching Positions In Australian Sport” was used extensively by the Australian Sports Commission in determining policies for women in sport, and through her role with Women Sport Australia, she is a vocal and respected advocate for equal opportunities for women and girls in sport. She has recently supported the announcement by Formula One of their move to ban ‘grid girls’, urging other sports to follow suit. Carol commented,
“WSA encourages other sports to follow suit…to provide women with equal opportunity, equal pay and conditions to participate in and play their sport, not pose for their sport.”
What lessons did you learn as Victoria’s first female professional surf-lifesaving lifeguard?
That the only barriers are in your mind and that sometimes we must be courageous and put our hand up to be a pioneer if it is required to create a path for others.
What strides have been achieved in the last year for Australian women in sport?
2017 will go down as a landmark for women in sport in Australia.
Netball Australia demonstrated that women’s sport could pull a crowd and that lead the way for Football Federation of Australia, Cricket Australia, AFL, the Australian Rugby Union and the NRL to support their female athletes and establish women’s leagues.
Three Australian competitions are among the 12 best-paid women’s sports leagues in the world. The Super Netball league comes in at No. 2 (with an average salary of $67,500, only behind the WNBA), cricket’s Big Bash is at No. 8 ($20,000), soccer’s W-League is at No. 9 ($113,800) and the AFLW is at No. 11 ($12,700).
There is still more to do – what a start though!
What does 2027 look like for Australian female athletes?
They won’t be called female athletes, women athletes or “girls”. They will be called athletes.
What changes would you like implemented within the next decade?
Parity in regards to access to facilities, wages, media coverage and board and leadership positions in sport.
As a community, how can we help build confidence in our female leaders?
By supporting each other, by celebrating achievements, by paying females the same as their male counterparts, by offering flexible workplaces.
We need to see more female leaders as role models – you can’t be what you can’t see.
What has been your greatest challenge?
Overcoming the anxiety and extreme lack of self-confidence I had as a teenager to get on and do what I wanted to do in life.
What are you most proud of?
I am proud that the work I do helps so many people live an easier life and be more confident in their interactions with others.
What’s one piece of advice for future female leaders?
There will always be people around to help you and support you. Look for them, find them and be honest with them so they can support you when required.
I love that I have surrounded myself with other female leaders who I can have a laugh with or even a cry if needed – this helps me then go out and face the world again knowing I am supported and things are back into perspective.