For a nation preparing to host three major world cups and a massive global conference on gender equality in sport, it’s hard to think of a more fitting image to mark UN International Women’s Day than Kendra Cocksedge, Katie Bowen and Sophie Devine standing shoulder to shoulder atop Eden Park’s towering stadium roof, peering down to the fabled playing surface and pondering what the sporting gods will grant them when their big days arrive.
Bowen, a 59-cap Football Fern, Cocksedge, the Black Ferns rugby team vice-captain, and Devine, the power-hitting skipper of the WHITE FERNS cricket team joined together for a media event in Auckland to help promote what promises to be a remarkable period for female athletes.
(Note: this was filmed during COVID-19 alert level 1).
As well as the 2022 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, 2022 Rugby World Cup and 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, New Zealand will also welcome the world’s largest gathering of experts on gender equality in sport and physical activity to the 8th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport in May 2022.
Bowen, who attended the event before heading to the United States to link with her club Kansas City ahead of the 2021 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season in the United States.
“It’s going to be massive for the nation.
“I think that it’s going to really help the development of the youth, and we hope to inspire not only young females but also young boys,” she said.
Bowen’s Football Ferns will be out to make history in 2023 when the eyes of the world will be on New Zealand and co-hosts Australia stage the 32-nation global sporting spectacular.
WHITE FERNS captain Sophie Devine has been in the thick of the sporting action in recent weeks, with her side taking on England in an ODI, the visitors triumphant 2-1 and T20I series that concluded yesterday.
Devine, who conquered her fear of heights to join Bowen and Cocksedge atop of Eden Park, said:
“It’s unbelievable to be a female athlete at this time.
“To have three women’s world cups here in New Zealand over the next three years is just awesome so please get along and support these fantastic athletes.”
The WHITE FERNS next take on Australia in a T20 series beginning March 28. Both England and Australia will return to New Zealand shores in 2022, having already booked their spots at the eight-nation Cricket World Cup.
It was announced last week that Rugby World Cup 2021 would likely be postponed to the end of 2022, and while the delay was disappointing for Black Ferns veteran Cocksedge, the anticipation still remains.
“I’m still highly motivated that there is a World Cup on home turf and at the end of the day borders will hopefully be open and we will be able to get lots of support from family and friends and people outside of the country as well.”
May 2022 will also see around 1,200 international participants travel to New Zealand to attend the 8th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport.
The event is the largest gathering of experts in gender equality in sport and physical activity in the world. It has been held every four years since 1994. For the first time in its 25-year history, it will be staged as both a physical event LIVE in Auckland and online as a digital event in parallel.
Rachel Froggatt, CEO of Women in Sport Aotearoa – host to the 8th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport, said:
“As a nation, we are about to witness a period of extraordinary social change for women and girls. The world’s best female athletes and the world’s best strategic thinkers in sport and physical activity are getting ready to travel to Aotearoa, to showcase their skills and talent across four major events.
Together, these events will forever transform the visibility of women’s sport, but also significantly increase the value of sport and physical activity for women and girls at all levels of the system.”
Find out more about the 8th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport.