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Get Stuffed! – Winning Jockey Delivers Women in Sport’s Misogyny Speech Moment

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Upon winning the Melbourne Cup, jockey Michelle Payne has delivered a powerful – and empowering – message about Women in Sport. It was horse racing’s version of Gillard’s misogyny speech.

As the first female to win the Melbourne Cup, Michelle is making headlines all over the globe. The story of her achievement is being screened on international news bulletins and she is trending on every social media platform.

And women around the world, non-sports fans and fanatics alike, are fist pumping with pride.

Powerful, heartfelt, inspiring and honest, Michelle hit out at the outdated injustices that many pretend aren’t real but that she suffered through everyday.

“It’s such a chauvinistic sport,” Michelle said after her win.

“I know some of the owners were keen to kick me off, and John Richards and Darren stuck strongly with me, and I put in all the effort I could and galloped him all I could because I thought he had what it takes to win the Melbourne Cup.”

“I want to say to everyone else, get stuffed, because they think women aren’t strong enough but we just beat the world.”

Success may be the ultimate revenge, but speech is a most powerful tool.

And Michelle Payne didn’t speak for herself alone, but all women.

Success may be the ultimate revenge, but speech is a most powerful tool.

Michelle isn’t the only female athlete to be told she isn’t good enough, strong enough, that she can’t compete as well as the men, win like the men, pull crowds like the men, produce entertaining sport like the men.

In a broader sense, women in society can relate to her experience: being overlooked for a position based on their gender and told they’re not suitable for a particular task because of their sex.

Michelle went further in an interview on Triple J’s Hack program.

“It’s so frustrating as a female. You’ve worked so hard every morning and do your best every time and they say ‘oh no, we will put one of the boys on’.”

“One day you might be unlucky, you might miss the start and they say ‘She missed the start!’. But when one of he guys missed the start they say ‘Geez, he was unlucky!’. And that’s what frustrates the hell out of me, you get so much less opportunities – it’s really not fair.”

Thank goodness someone is telling it like it is. Too often women are afraid to call out sexism for fear of being labelled “difficult” “a whinger” or even “a bitch”. But, having just won the biggest race of them all, Michelle spoke of her frustration from a position of power and it wasn’t just the racing industry – but the whole world that was listening.
There will be some out there who will criticise Michelle’s honesty but the truth always makes the guilty feel uncomfortable. So many women have been empowered by her victory and most of all her speech.

Over 100 years ago Australia’s first female jockey was a woman called Wilhemena Smith who was forced to live her whole life a lie. With women forbidden to race, Wilhemena hid her gender. She raced as “Bill”, lived as a recluse, arrived at the track with her silks on and never changed in front of the other jockeys. It was only after her death in 1975 that her real identity was discovered. Wilhemena was forced to go to extreme lengths just to ride.

There’s no doubt we’ve come a long way since then but it’s ignorant to deny we’ve still got so far to go. But centuries on, it’s inspiring to not only see a female jockey win the famous Cup but to show no fear in calling out the chauvenisitic realities of her industry and our world.

It was your moment Michelle and from women everywhere…thank you.

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