Joanne Love

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How Important ARE Female Role Models?

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As I age my eyesight is going from bad to worse. When it first started to deteriorate, the local $2 shop was my best friend. Now it is important that I have spare of glasses strategically placed, in the glovebox of the car, my office table draw, and most importantly on my bedside table for dealing with my phone alarm in the morning. You might now be wondering have I completely lost the plot as well as my eyesight, and how does all this relate to female role models.

 

Let me explain….

 

In life, many of the decisions we make whether it is the sport we play or the work we do, are influenced by those that inspire us. It is often the hard work and success of these role models that motivate and encourage us to follow suit. Especially for achievers, who look toward positive role models to show them the way. A positive role model has the ability to inspire others, with clear values, and have often shown an ability to overcome obstacles. Male athletes often have quite a wealth of other male figures to draw inspiration from. However, if our young girls don’t have any strong female role models, how can we expect them to stay in sport and achieve success?

 

If we are blind:

“You can’t be what you can’t see” (Marian Wright Edelman)

 

Normally, our likelihood of choosing a role model is one that we identify with. One that provides the kinds of strategies that supports our way of thinking. Images, stories and examples, are the basic instruments that help educate us about what we can be or our prompt our drive to be. Without these, we are left unaware, and how can we be what we cannot see? As women, we need to start promoting and supporting every women’s success regardless of its size. Allow others to see the light no matter how small it is!

 

Short sighted:

“Having sight but no vision.” (Helen Keller)

 

If you think the situation is going to change overnight, then that is very short sighted. It is perfectly acceptable for women to want to emulate male role models, but it has only been of late that men are standing up for the women that they admire and respect. Wimbledon Champion, Andy Murray is a brilliant example, when he corrected a journalist over a biased male claim of success. He was quick to point out that Serena Williams was in fact the first US tennis player to make the Wimbledon quarterfinals since 2009. NBA superstar LeBron James is another big supporter of women in sport, stressing equality in sport, and naming Diana Taurasi as one of the great athletes he admires.

But are these trailblazers who fought hard to give equality to women, at risk, when so many other men are attacked by their male counterparts, when they openly applaud women? What can we do to get more men speaking about their female role models?

 

Long sighted:

“A wonderful sight when everyone is treated right.”

 

There is the potential for an explosion of women role models, if we let it happen. Our society is changing, and women, need to be able to choose their own course in life, with inspirational women to inspire them. Why not encourage real power, by treating each other likes sisters and celebrate each other’s successes. Let’s start today and congratulate every female who needs to be valued for however small their contribution is. Let’s embrace the fact that if we can improve our own communication and engagement with others, we highlight those women who we aspire to be.

 

What can you do to promote the next generation of female role models?

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Joanne Love is known internationally for delivering thinking that is "out of the box." As an elite swimming coach, Joanne has experienced first hand what it's like to be one of the few females in a male dominated environment. Joanne has represented Australia at the highest level, including inclusion on the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Teams. These experiences led Joanne into obtaining a degree in psychology and now works with differing sporting organisations to maximise performance at all levels.

 

To enquire about Joanne speaking at your next event, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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