Tracey Spicer AM
Tracey Spicer AM is an author, journalist and television presenter who has anchored programs for ABC TV, Network Ten, Channel 9 and Sky News over the past 30 years. Renowned for the courage of her convictions, passion for social justice, and commitment to equality, she also has a wicked sense of humour. Her first book, The Good Girl Stripped Bare, was published in 2017. Tracey will be speaking at the Women’s Leadership Symposium in Brisbane, Melbourne and Darwin so we interviewed her to find out more about her work.
In your recent book, The Good Girl Stripped Bare, you explore the structural barriers facing women in the workplace. Can you tell us more about that?
There are so many invisible barriers holding us back, from the 'good girl' syndrome to unconscious bias and outright, explicit sexism. In this memoir, I used my own story as a skeleton around which to weave a narrative of the many ways in which we're hobbled, both externally and internally. I wrote it in an accessible, comedic tone, because I want every young woman to know what she may face when she enters the workforce.
In a recent podcast, you spoke about a lack of willingness to change the sexist culture in the media. What will it take to change this culture?
It will take more women in positions of leadership, men who are willing to confront the ugly truth, and workers courageous enough to call it out. The #metoo movement has certainly expedited some soul-searching. Many executives and board members are concerned about the prospect that they may have breached their duty of care, or failed to ensure proper corporate governance.
You are the National Convenor of Women in Media. Can you tell us about your work with that initiative?
Women in Media started more than a decade ago in Perth. I led its expansion nationally, creating mentoring programs and networking events. It's the first time there's been an organised, national 'sisterhood' in one of Australia's most male-dominated industries. However there is much more to do, when it comes to lobbying government and business to create cultural change. The media both reflects and shapes society, so these changes are enormously important.
Can you tell us about your campaign to expose sexual predators in the Australian media and entertainment industries?
In October last year, I sent a small tweet asking for stories about two well-known sexual harassers and predators within our media and entertainment industry. So far, more than 1500 people - 99% women - have contacted me. It's a slow but robust process as we go through these disclosures, building a strong enough case to go to broadcast and print.
During a recent interview, you said that you are a big supporter of quotas. Have you got a vision for how they should be implemented?
They've been proven to work long-term internationally, but there is some reluctance in Australia. The culture comes from the top, so we need wise leaders to put this policy in place. Personally, I believe in quotas at board and executive level. It is one of the few proven ways to give experienced women the opportunities they deserve. We all know that diversity improves the bottom line. This is good for everyone.
What are some of the most important things you have learned in your career?
To be true to myself, stand up for what I believe in, and say "no" more often.
What are the key principles that have been fundamental to your success?
Authenticity, hard work and generosity. And a sense of humour! It keeps me sane...
What advice would you like to impart to our readers?
Find your sisterhood, and connect with male allies. We are stronger together.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I've joined with two colleagues to launch a social enterprise called Outspoken Women. We use the proceeds from training corporate women in presentation skills to fund scholarships for CALD and marginalised women. It makes my heart sing to have these wonderful women in the room together, learning how to roar!
If you want to hear more from the phenomenal Tracey Spicer AM, along with an incredible line up of other speakers, she will be speaking at the Women’s Leadership Symposium in Brisbane, Melbourne and Darwin.