CHARLOTTE MILLS, GENERAL MANAGER RWWA
The support of both women and men in Harness Racing during the Team Teal campaign is integral to its success. Harness Racing is one of the few sports with a balanced gender representation. Each and every day during Team Teal, the reinswomen strive to contribute to the tally. WomenCan recently was thrilled to meet some of the other women involved in Harness Racing and asked them about their sport and the Team Teal campaign.
Unlike other sports, in Harness Racing men and women compete against each other. How has the harness racing industry been able to achieve this, and what is the significance of women’s role in the sport?
The harness racing industry is steeped in rich history, with women amongst the pioneers of the sport. It is an industry where men and women have the ability to compete on an even playing field. Working with horses requires a certain mix of skills and knowledge, as well as passion for the animals themselves. Therefore, anyone who embodies this is welcomed into the industry – no matter their gender. Women have and continue to play a significant role within the harness racing industry, with many females proving themselves as a forced to reckoned with. Currently, there is a strong field of young female drivers coming through the ranks, creating an exciting and bright future for the industry.
Team Teal is a national campaign to promote awareness of ovarian cancer and raise important funds to support prevention and education programs. Why do you think the harness racing industry has embraced the campaign as much as it has?
Cancer is a major cause of illness in Australia – almost everyone knows someone who has been affected by cancer in some way. Ovarian cancer is also the eighth most common cancer affecting women in Australia. As a mainstream sport, with the ability to reach thousands of people through patrons attending on-course as well as broadcast media, the industry’s participants are passionate about leveraging this opportunity to promote important causes that can make a difference to so many peoples lives.
What is your call to action for the harness racing community of why the message about ovarian cancer should be shared?
Funds raised from the Team Teal campaign go towards supporting the Australia New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group, which is the leading clinical trials research organisation for gynaecological cancer in Australia and New Zealand. Therefore, with your support we can assist in funding pioneering discoveries to make a difference to the lives of women, and their loved ones, with gynaecological cancers.
In the absence of a vaccine or detection for ovarian cancer we encourage women to know the symptoms, the risks and take prompt action with their family doctor should they be experiencing symptoms that are unusual for them and persist longer than 3 weeks.