On Monday, December 16th, 2013, the Bankstown Harness Racing Club issued a Media Release calling on the New South Wales Government to embrace greater gender equality on the governing bodies of racing boards and race clubs.
This Media Release also called on the Minister for Racing, the Hon George Souris MP, in particular, to embrace greater gender equality on the governing bodies of racing boards and race clubs.
The Media Release pointed out that female representation on the governing bodies of racing boards and race clubs is virtually non existent.
The Media Release stipulated that ceremonial ambassadors, such as Ms Stephanie Rice, and the production of swimsuit style calendars featuring female racing industry participants do not make up for the gender inequity in terms of the appointment of women to actual leadership roles on the decision making bodies of NSW racing boards and clubs.
The Media Release noted that the O'Farrell Government had appointed just one (1) single female to the seven (7) member Racing NSW board since coming to office in 2011.
The Media Release further noted that the Australian Turf Club, NSW Harness Racing Club and Harness Racing NSW all have boards which are only composed of men.
What the Media Release did not make clear is that the late Mrs Susan Kelly had previously served on the board of the NSW Harness Racing Club, that is, from October 2009 to November 2013.
The Bankstown Harness Racing Club deeply regrets any offence which this omission may have caused to the family of Mrs Kelly and pays tribute to the valuable contribution which Mrs Kelly made to the sport of harness racing and to industry participants.
The fact remains that, in the entirety of their histories, neither the Australian Turf Club nor Harness Racing NSW has ever had a woman on its board of directors.
The Bankstown Harness Racing Club acknowledges that the NSW Harness Racing Club had a female director for 3.6 per cent of the time in its history, that is, for a period of four years and one month out of one hundred and eleven years.
The Media Release went on to highlight the lack of female directors on the controlling bodies of racing and that these appointments are made by the Minister for Racing, Mr Souris.
The Media Release then pointed out that only two (2) out of the five (5) Greyhound Racing NSW board members are women and that only one (1) out of the seven (7) Racing NSW board members is a woman.
The Media Release observed that, out of the five (5) Harness Racing NSW board members, there are no women - and that, in fact, Harness Racing NSW does not employ any women at a senior executive or middle management level.
The Media Release concluded by drawing attention to the fact that the Bankstown Harness Racing Club is the most gender diverse race club in Sydney, if not the whole of NSW, and that the NSW Government, its racing boards and other race clubs across our state would do well to learn from this example.
For additional information or comment, please contact Geoffrey Grasso, General Manager, Bankstown Paceway, direct on 0418 664 197.