Carol Fox ~ Beautiful, Brainy and Bold!

There have been a number of women athletes with amazing skills from every nation. Australia's Carol Fox is one among them. For this beautiful and graceful young lady, it took true grit to succeed in the male-dominated arena of sports, and inspire fellow women to enter sports.

The Womenz Bureau had an opportunity to interview Carol Fox, President / Chair, Women Sport Australia, and here’s what she shared with us

You yourself are an athlete. Which sports and activities were you interested in?

My interest has been in swimming, water polo and surf lifesaving.

Where did it all start? Please share a few memories of your sports career. 

I have four other siblings in my family, and we started swimming at a young age, all doing very well. We woke up at 4:30am, trained until 7am, went to school and did it for another 2 hours each week at night. 

I seemed to always follow my brother wherever he went with sport. I watched him apply for his SLSA Bronze Medallion, not realising that females were not allowed to apply. I didn’t realise that lifesaving wasn’t open to girls at that stage. But I was lucky enough that by the time I was ready, we could serve the community and become surf lifesavers.  

When I started racing in the SLSV Victoria carnivals I had to race against the boys – including my brother.   He was a very quiet achiever and I was out there fighting for it. He was a bit embarrassed about me being there, I think. 

But there were always people willing to help and there were males who would celebrate the fact I was there. Even when I was doing Iron Man, some would always come up and say “go for it”. There were certainly the detractors – people who did not want to see women competing, but I think you get that anywhere. 

Carol  running with the Commonwealth Games Queens baton Feb 2018 

Please tell us about initiatives and activities you are heading. 

At Women Sport Australia (WSA), we monitor equality around access to facilities, equal pay, and media time and space for women and girls in sport. My role is about connecting with people in the industry and making sure our existence is known so we can advocate on their behalf when required. 

There is a lot of interest around women in sport currently. WSA is about getting people excited about positive changes that have occurred in the sport industry, but also reminding people that gender inequality is still there, particularly when we look at women athletes in the media. 

Tell us more about Women Sport Australia and its objectives.

We are the peak national advocacy body that stands up for women in sport. 

Our Vision: Women and girls participating and leading in sport. 

Our mission: gender pay equality and a living wage for all women athletes. Equal access to sporting facilities and amenities on and off the field, leadership pathways and equal media time and space for women and men’s sports. 

When it comes to participation in any sports, women are always less. Do you think this scenario is changing now? 

Yes, it is changing. More girls are now participating at a grassroots level, especially after the advent of the AFLW.

The Australian sports commission, state sporting organisations and government are focused on providing opportunities for women in girls in sport through initiatives and projects that will make a difference.  

Please throw some light on the current scenario of Australian women athletes. 

They are experiencing time in the spotlight and that will encourage more girls and women to be active.

Last year alone, Netball Australia demonstrated that women’s sport could pull a crowd and that lead the way for the 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 now 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 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).

Let’s hope 2018 will be an even bigger year!

How is Women Sport Australia helping athletes? 

We help athletes, coaches and administrators in sport by advocating for equality in regards to pay, media, facilities and leadership opportunities. 

What does Gender Equality mean to you?

It is really all about allowing people to have opportunities to be who they want to be and be able to participate. 

As a woman did you face any challenges in your career? How did you overcome?

Confident Communication for Women is a female-only leadership workshop that I conduct, based on my experiences interacting with male athletes, coaches, managers and board members. 

A lot of women do management leadership courses, but are still taught how to do things like a man. For someone my age, we weren’t raised with strong female figures on TV. For a long time, I thought feminine energy was weak because I didn’t know what a strong woman was. We can’t fight men in an energy of masculinity because we’ll lose. I teach women how to be strong as a female in a way that’s strong, kind and compassionate.  

Your thesis on Australian Sport is referred by many. Tell us more about it and how it helped the sports community. 

The thesis looked at the barriers that may be in place to prevent women coaches getting to an elite level. It pin pointed  some key areas such as the need for support from partners, help with childcare and also recognition of barriers that people can place on themselves, especially when the role models are not there. 

What are your plans ahead for women in sport?

It goes back to our mission: gender pay equality and a living wage for all women athletes. Equal access to sporting facilities and amenities on and off the field, leadership pathways  and equal media time and space for women and men’s sports.

Let’s have your inspiring message to women in sports. 

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.

Your advice to society at large. 

Be kind to yourself and others.

Your message to women the world over. 

Surround yourself with other female leaders who can have a laugh with you or even a cry if needed – this will help you go out and face the world again knowing you are safe, secure, supported and loved -- and that things are back in perspective.

We at TheWomenz express our earnest appreciation for sharing your unique story with us. We believe it will surely stimulate fellow women in every country and continent in the world.

Carol can be reached on Linked-in, instagram, twitter and Facebook 

You can connect with Women Sport Australia  at instagramtwitter and Facebook

First Published: 17-Mar-2018- 18:09