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Our plans to accelerate gender equity in the sport and recreation sector

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Women in Sport Aotearoa (WISPA) publicly announces its plans to accelerate gender equity within Aotearoa New Zealand’s sport and active recreation sector. 

  • WISPA aims to accelerate gender equity in Aotearoa New Zealand’s sport and recreation sector through a range of initiatives
  • The organisation plans to strengthen its system change platform from 2023 to 2028, with a focus on providing targeted insights and data, a nationwide network, learning from Māori leadership and more.
  • WISPA’s work has already contributed to increased representation of women in leadership roles, improved policies and practices, and greater visibility of women and girls. 

Women in Sport Aotearoa (WISPA) is a charity advocacy organisation based in Aotearoa New Zealand that aims to achieve gender equity in the sport and active recreation sector. WISPA is dedicated to increasing the visibility and value of women and girls in sport and recreation.

Since its formation, the organisation has made significant strides towards achieving gender equity within the sector, and now aims to accelerate the pace of change. WISPA has developed a range of initiatives, including insights and research, advocacy campaigns, programmes and partnerships, to promote gender equity in the sector. It has also built a strong network of supporters, including individuals, organisations, and government agencies, who share its mission and vision.

“WISPA remains committed to prioritising outcomes for women and girls in Aotearoa. At the same time, we are deeply committed to supporting improved outcomes for Māori and Pasifika women. We recognise that true equity means acknowledging and addressing the unique challenges faced by these groups within the sector,” said Nicky van den Bos, Acting Chief Executive. 

“We have been most fortunate to have had the IWG platform, which has allowed us to advance our work in Aotearoa and contribute to the wider global conversation. That platform provided us the opportunity to connect with and learn from other countries and organisations, enabling us to bring fresh perspectives and ideas to the WISPA kaupapa.”

WISPA’s primary focus between 2023 and 2028 is to strengthen its system change platform, which includes providing sector access to targeted, in-depth insights and data via the Insight Hub, creating tools to assess and track gender equity performance, developing and supporting programmes, growing Hine Manawa Rau (nationwide network), promoting the importance of intersectionality as part of the gender equity agenda, and guiding the sector to understand the challenges for Māori wāhine and kōhine.

“We are committed to leading, catalysing and advocating for system change within New Zealand’s sport and active recreation sector, ensuring wāhine and kōhine are valued, visible and influential,” said Sarah Leberman, WISPA’s Co-Founder and Co-Chair. 

“We will continue to take an evidence-based approach, actively engage with and amplify matauranga Maori, join with others to be effective, and drive gender equity within the sector .”

WISPA’s leadership has contributed to noticeable changes within the sector. These changes include increased representation of women in leadership roles (Sport NZ Women + Girls in Sport and Active Recreation Strategy), improved policies and practices to promote gender equity (Hosting of the IWG Secretariat 2018-2022), and greater visibility and recognition for women and girls in sport and recreation (Sport NZ Gender Balance Media Study).

WISPA’s 2023-2028 strategy aims to create tangible and genuine buy-in to sector-wide gender equity. To learn more about WISPA’s 2023-2028 strategy, read the plan here.

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