Why I'm glad my daughters won't see grid girls at the Formula One

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock 

I'd like to applaud Formula One bosses for making the decision to no longer parade grid girls at racetracks worldwide.

With three daughters of my own, I'm happy to see this outdated glamour role stopped.

Axing grid girls is a big step forward for promoting women in F1 and hopefully other sporting codes will take note and do the same.

I want my children to grow up in an era where girls are seen as more than just cheerleaders of male competitors. That they are more than just poorly paid trophy holders.

I'm looking forward to the day my girls go to F1 races and they are watching girls compete (or even they are the ones competing).

Unfortunately, there's still a long way to go in the field of motorsport, but this is one step towards that happening, one step towards changing attitudes towards women in F1 around the world.

Sure the girls that chose to be grid girls loved the thrill of being on the track, the attention and the wages. I feel badly that by F1 making a statement about the way women are viewed, that it's the women who are losing their jobs and that needs to be addressed.

Efforts should be made to find them jobs on the racecourse that don't require them to simply look pretty. Surely, some of the grid girls would jump at the chance to have greater involvement in the industry, in roles that could ultimately provide them better long-term job prospects.

Simply sacking them and moving on isn't enough.

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I hope that F1 put that money into girls' development programs - whether it's as a competitor or behind the scenes in management, support crews or administration.

I remember when I was growing up that the closest a girl could get to AFL was to be a cheerleader, now girls can play in the national league. They can even head up a team or the league. It took small steps to get to that point and in the F1 arena its good to see those small steps being taken. Every decision like this is one step closer to more monumental changes.

In the meantime, I'm happy that my girls will not continue to see women paraded around at F1, like show ponies, growing up to believe that that is your best shot at being part of the industry.

Instead, I'd like them to see girls in the pits, driving the cars and making managerial decisions.

And for the women who already spend every day fighting to get ahead in the male-dominated racing industry, it'll mean they no longer have to navigate their jobs while standing alongside the only other women at work who are dressed in matching mini skirts.

This is ultimately a good decision for the industry, a good decision for the future of women in the sport and a good decision for all the girls who are striving to be part of the racing car industry.

Hopefully, other sporting codes will take notice and follow suit. And hopefully, this will result in more funds being allocated into promoting gender equality and opportunities for girls in these sports for lasting, meaningful change.