Today a female jockey, Michelle Payne, won the Melbourne Cup. It’s the first time it’s ever happened.
Up until now it’s just been glorious man after glorious man.
A lot of people celebrated this glass ceiling breaking fact but it got me thinking, what if competent women are allowed into other male dominated workplaces?
It made me realise that it could force incompetent white men out of jobs! It would be a bloodbath everywhere, on corporate boards especially.
The worst thing about this all is that Payne beat competent men too and on a 100-1 longshot. She seems to be not only competent but really, really good at jockeying.
The whole thing terrifies me. As a white middle aged man I’ve always relied on the deck being stacked in my favour despite me doing nothing to deserve it.
I’ve succeeded time-and-time again because I look like someone who in the credits of a movie would be ‘guy in meeting’. No one questions me being there or even judges it. They just think, ‘that guy looks like he should be here’.
Imagine if people started ignoring that and cared about my performance instead?
If non-white non-middle age non-men can overtake me on 100-1 longshots, I might have to actually start working hard and not rely on centuries upon centuries of social conditioning to coast on through.
So while everyone is celebrating a Melbourne Cup winner, my world is spinning. Thanks a lot Michelle Payne!
Oh well, at least I have the inertia of societal change on my side.