Today Show co-host Lisa Wilkinson made a point of informing her Andrew Olle Lecture audience that she was only the second woman in 16 years to be invited to make that prestigious speech. Think about it. And as unfair as that sounds, Wilkinson noted that it was still better odds than being a woman in the current Cabinet.
Her speech has been celebrated in part for the honoring of female journalists that she most admires. The majority were women that every female journalist sees as role models like Leigh Sales, Emma Alberici and Kate McClymont. I liked that she took the opportunity of that platform to call them out.
Caroline Jones and Tracey Spicer did the same only two nights earlier at the Sydney launch of Women in Media. Again McClymont was named — this time as one of five inaugural mentors for the next generation of journalists.
I have always liked the concept of naming and celebrating female role models. The concern that we only ever read about the same successful women in the mainstream media sparked the idea for Women’s Agenda. For cultural change to occur we need the female role model lists to be long and broad and not just relatively famous.
The list of people you admire says as much about you as it does about them. So I am going to add to Wilkinson’s list with five women I admire. The idea is to pass it on and add to the list so that we truly demonstrate the depth and breadth of female talent in the media today.
In an effort to keep it to a list of five, I have chosen to name the women I admire who are dedicated to shining the light on an inequity experienced by others. It goes without saying that Women’s Agenda editor Angela Priestley and acting editor Georgie Dent should be on any list that celebrates media women. Their passion for uncovering insights and information to improve the career path progression for women is relentless. In no particular order, five other media women I admire are:
- Jane Caro, writer, author, speaker: devotes many column centimetres to her passion for an improved, equitable public education system for all, as well as palming off misogyny with her wonderful wit.
- Cathy Alexander, Crikey deputy editor: agitates daily for more female voices in the news analysis and opinion mix. She is determined and tireless, and responsible for giving a voice to women on issues other than the stereotypical.
- Tracey Spicer, radio host, TV presenter, journalist, columnist and PR director: fearlessly calls out sexism by media management whenever it appears to raise its ugly head. She was the first to publicly question the reason behind the decision by Sunrise to replace Melissa Doyle with the younger and “sexier” Samantha Armytage.
- Jenna Price, journalist, academic, Women In Media committee and Destroy The Joint front person: took up the baton to fight the good fight against misogyny. She has fought criticism with research, barbs with smarts and has a long list of talented female journalists at the ready to recommend.
- Catherine Fox, journalist, author and public speaker: has focused her career on writing and speaking about the need for more women in corporate leadership roles.
Those women are just the tip of a very large and formidable iceberg of female talent that I admire. I could have kept going but I like the idea of others adding to it to share in the roll call of women we collectively admire. If you are in a different industry, send us the five women you most admire so we can start industry lists for others to add to.