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Six headline speakers announced for the 8th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport

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Earlybird registration deadline extended to 31 August 2022, allowing more participants to access discounted rates.

The International Working Group (IWG) on Women & Sport Secretariat, Women in Sport Aotearoa, Ngā Wāhine Hākinakina o Aotearoa, is delighted to announce a series of headline speakers for the 8th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport. To mark the moment, the Earlybird deadline has now been extended to 31 August 2022, allowing more participants to access the discounted rates.

These global sports leaders and activists join an action-packed core programme already announced for the event, due to take place in Tamaki Makaurau Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand and Online from 14-17 November 2022. They will present in person, with live broadcast on the virtual platform.

Over 220+ sessions and almost 500 speakers are now confirmed for the world’s largest gathering to advance gender equity and equality in sport and physical activity, with more announcements soon.

  • HRH Prince Feisal Al Hussein of Jordan – International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board Member, Deputy Chair of the IOC Women in Sport Commission and Chair of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) Gender Equity Commission. Prince Al Hussein is one of the world’s most influential advocates for gender equal and safe sport. He also heads an IOC working group aimed at eradicating harassment and abuse in sport.
  • Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka – former Executive Director of UN Womenfrom 2013 to 2021, with the rank of Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations. Dr Mlambo-Ngcuka also served as Deputy President of South Africa from 2005 to 2008, the first woman to hold this position. At the time, she was the highest-ranking woman in the history of South Africa. Throughout her illustrious 40+ year career, she has directed her energy towards human rights, equality and social justice, with specific emphasis on gender and youth development. 
  • Dame Louise Martin DBE President of the Commonwealth Games Federation. Elected in 2015 and re-elected in 2019, Dame Louise is the first woman to hold this prestigious global position. She has had a long and distinguished association with the Commonwealth Games, as an athlete (swimming for Team Scotland, Perth 1962) and thereafter, as Team Manager, Administrator and Honorary Secretary. The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, starting next week, will have the largest ever female and para sportprogramme in history.

These international headliners will be joined by three of Aotearoa New Zealand’s brightest:

  • Raelene Castle ONZM (Ngāpuhi), Chief Executive of Sport New Zealand, Ihi Aotearoa. One of Australasia’s most recognised sports leaders, Raelene has been Chief Executive of Rugby Australia, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs Rugby League Team, and Netball New Zealand. She has a rich sporting background as a former representative-level netball, tennis and lawn bowls player. Through Sport New Zealand, Ihi Aotearoa, Raelene has been pivotal to advancing change through the government ‘Women and Girls in Sport & Recreation’ strategy and as a major partner of the 8th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport.
  • Dame Valerie Adams OLY one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most successful and celebrated athletes. A New Zealander of Tongan descent, she has won a staggering two golds, one silver and one bronze in shot put across five Olympic Games. She was unbeaten in major world events from 2006 to 2014, winning 107 competitions in that period. A vocal advocate for gender equality in sport, her return to winning form following the birth of her two children was celebrated by the nation. She recently coached her sister, Lisa Adams, to a gold medal in shotput at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, delivering the ultimate sister “double-act”.
  • Dame Sophie Pascoe PLY the most decorated Paralympian in the history of Aotearoa New Zealand. Dame Sophie lost her lower leg at just 3 years of age, following a lawn mower accident. She won three gold medals and one silver medal at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, catapulting her onto the global sporting stage at just 15 years of age. Since then, she has amassed an outstanding 19 medals across four Paralympic Games, including 11 gold medals, and embraced her position as a disability and gender role model. At just 28 years of age, she became Aotearoa New Zealand’s youngest Dame in the 2022 New Year’s Honours.

Pauline Harrison, Chair of the IWG World Conference Steering Committee, said: 

“We are thrilled that His Royal Highness Prince Feisal, Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Dame Louise have all agreed to join us live in Aotearoa New Zealand this November, alongside Raelene, Dame Valerie and Dame Sophie. It seems very fitting to extend the Earlybird to mark this great moment! 

The 8th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport is fully interactive, both in person and online. To confirm speakers of this calibre is tremendous; our participants will enjoy unprecedented access during the event, due to our focus on collaboration, practical application and delivering solutions. 

Over the next few weeks, we will be adding many further global names representing the diversity of our international community of action, as we work to put the last final pieces of the puzzle together.”

The 8th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport is built upon social learning principles – inspired by the storytelling and collaboration inherent to the indigenous Māori culture of Aotearoa New Zealand. Participants will explore five global themes through seven lenses, generated by a 150+ strong global programming team, and agree practical solutions to be applied in their own contexts. The ambition is to bring the movement together as one, to drive equity further and faster in future.

More than 1,200+ global participants are expected to participate in person, with hundreds joining virtually via a world class conferencing system. With the event dovetailing into the women’s Rugby World Cup, Aotearoa New Zealand will be the epicentre of women’s sport globally through October and November. World Rugby itself has committed a large delegation to the Conference.

The speakers announced today will be added to a brand new “Speakers” page on the IWG World Conference Hub. Visit now to find out more about the other nearly 500 international and national speakers. Watch out for more announcements soon.

The core programme features some of the world’s most influential sport and physical activity organisations, plus advocacy groups, governments, business, media and academia – including the International Olympic Committee (IOC), FIFA and the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup team; Women’s Sport Foundation (founded by Billie Jean King); the Commonwealth Games Federation, and the UNESCO Global Observatory for Gender Equality in Sport. Visit the “Programme” page to explore the content and create a ‘favourites’ list.

Group Packages are now on sale now, with a call to action to ‘Register your Delegation’. Confirmed delegations include the International Olympic Committee, World Rugby, Oceania Hockey, and the Japan Sports Council. Visit the Delegation Hub for more information.

Earlybird closes 31 August 2022.


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