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RELEASE: Sports sector to up its game in wake of new Government strategy

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Women and girls should have equal opportunity to participate, compete and build careers in NZ sport.


Photo: l-r, Women in Sport Aotearoa Board Members Laura Menzies, Kirikaiahi Mahutariki, Sarah Leberman and Julie Paterson with New Zealand Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, centre, and Minister for Sport and Recreation, the Hon Grant Robertson, far right, at the launch (Courtesy of Sport New Zealand)

Women in Sport Aotearoa applauds the Government commitments made in the Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation Strategy launched by Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Sport and Recreation, the Hon Grant Robertson today, along with the $10m+ commitment by Sport New Zealand to ensuring its successful delivery over the next 3 years.

Rachel Froggatt, Chief Executive, said: “The release of the Government Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation Strategy is a historic step. There has never been such a comprehensive strategy before and combined with the supporting commitment from Sport New Zealand, investing upwards of $10 million over three years, Aotearoa New Zealand is now on track to become a world leader for gender equity in sport. This is timely, given we are the host nation for the International Working Group on Women and Sport (IWG) to 2022, meaning all eyes are on New Zealand to lead the way.”

“The challenge is now for the sports sector to up its game, and fast. We’ve been trying to move the dial in sport for close to 40 years and progress has been glacial. Gender equity is a key topic across our society and with sport playing a critical role in New Zealand culture, the launch of this strategy and its anticipated behavioural changes will see sport now become an example for all other sectors.”

“In particular, Women in Sport Aotearoa firmly believes that for us to realise our vision of ensuring that ‘women and girls are valued, visible and influential in sport’, women must be represented in Governance and Leadership positions. We especially commend and personally thank Minister Robertson for his bold commitment to mandating a minimum 40% representation by 2021. This is essential to ensuring all priorities in the strategy can be realised, including more equitable funding so that women and girls have the same opportunity to participate, compete and build careers in sport.”

Women in Sport Aotearoa is New Zealand’s leading advocacy group dedicated to gender equity in sport. Established in 2016, it exists to transform the sporting landscape in Aotearoa New Zealand, and the world. It was co-founded by Tennis New Zealand CEO Julie Paterson and Massey University Professor and researcher, Sarah Leberman. Over the past two years Women in Sport Aotearoa has grown substantially and recently played a key role as a consultant in the new Government Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation Strategy.

In September 2018, Women in Sport Aotearoa became the delivery agent of the International Working Group (IWG) on Women and Sport Secretariat and Conference 2018-22, after New Zealand won the hosting rights. Supporting the IWG is as a key priority within Sport New Zealand’s published commitments to the new Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation Strategy, providing a trigger for change.

“In 2022, over 1200 dignitaries and influencers from around the world will arrive in Auckland for the IWG Conference, set to review and discuss progress for women and girls in sport around the world. Not only will New Zealand be evaluated on its handling of the Secretariat, delegates will expect us to showcase what we have achieved locally and report against key priorities in the new strategy.”

Over the next four years, Women in Sport Aotearoa’s responsibilities will include delivery of the IWG Strategic Plan and Conference, plus global advocacy programmes, support for the IWG Global Governing Board and overall stewardship of the 600+ organisations and individuals that have signed the Brighton Declaration on Women in Sport. The Declaration was updated at Helsinki 2014 and the overriding aim is to develop a sporting culture that enables and values the full involvement of women in every aspect of sport. Major signatories to the Declaration include UN Women, the Commonwealth Heads of Government, UNESCO, the International Olympic and Paralympic Committees (IOC/IPC) and FIFA. In 2022, Women in Sport Aotearoa will deliver the 8th IWG World Conference.

IWG 2018-2022

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