Listen to the sixth episode of season two here.
Welcome to an International Women’s Day special sixth episode of season two of Medals & More, the podcast taking you behind the scenes of British Olympic and Paralympic sport.
Hosted by Dame Katherine Grainger, Britain’s most decorated female Olympian and Chair of UK Sport, Medals & More will inspire, engage and educate you with insights and stories from the Olympic and Paralympic high-performance community and beyond.
Monday 8 March 2021 marks International Women’s Day and, to celebrate the date, Katherine welcomes two extremely successful female leaders in Sally Bolton OBE and Anne Wafula-Strike MBE.
Sally joined the All England Club as their first female chief executive in August 2020 having previously worked as their Strategic Planning & Operations Director with experience also in athletics and rugby league. She also sits on the UK Sport board.
Anne is a British international athlete and was the first wheelchair racer from Sub-Saharan Africa to compete at the Paralympic Games. She was torch bearer for London 2012, is a campaigner for disability access and inclusion and a member of both the British Paralympic Association and UK Athletics boards.
In a wide-ranging episode, Sally speaks about what the high-performance community can teach the business sector when it comes to diversity, gender equality and creating an environment in which women can flourish and one that is ‘gender blind’.
Anne references her experiences at board level as a minority, not becoming a statistic and the importance of ensuring her voice isn't silenced.
On the subject of International Women’s Day, Katherine asked Sally what she hopes to be talking about when the day comes around in 2021: “I would love to not be talking about the fact that as the first female CEO of the All England Lawn Tennis Club – that’s the headline. At that point I would love there never to be a headline about someone’s gender – it’s just irrelevant.
“I’d love to be talking about a genuine sense of boys and girls growing up today feeling like all and every opportunity is available to both of them. Girls growing up really firmly believing that they can lead an organisation and be primary breadwinner in the household.
“Boys growing up believing in being the primary childcare provider and not having the overriding sense of responsibility to provide. The idea that boys and girls can grow up having every possible option avail to them irrespective of gender.”
Meanwhile on the subject of women in the boardroom, Anne is in no doubt as to the positive impact: “As a sportswoman I know that my diverse views, when we bring views all together in a board room, they generate creative ideas. I think the men in the room realise that they have got a genius among them because we help them solve problems in a very, very good way.
“If you speak to men they will tell you that the decision making is improved when there is a women’s voice around that table. We also make people learn to challenge themselves and I think when they are coming to board meetings they are really well prepared because they probably know there is that woman that will want to know everything. That is a good thing because any board that does not have a woman, any board that is not diverse, they are missing out on a lot.”