A group of sporting, political, business and academic women leaders have chosen International Women’s Day to launch New Zealand’s first national advocacy organisation for women and girls in sport.
Women in Sport Aotearoa (Ngā Wāhine Hākinakina o Aotearoa) recognises the need for a national voice to promote positive change for women and girls in sport, according to foundation board member Professor Toni Bruce.
“The energy and enthusiasm from women around the country is amazing,” she says. “The number of offers of help and support show how much women in sport see the value of an initiative like this.”
The organisation aims to build a strong national network of women’s sport supporters and participants to take action so that women and girls are valued, visible and influential in sport.
“Alongside advocacy and leadership, research is one of the three key pillars of our approach,” says the Faculty of Education and Social Work professor.
“We intend our advocacy to be firmly grounded in research,” she says. “However, in many areas of sport, we either lack data that accurately reflects the picture of women and girls’ presence and influence in sport, or what exists is not easily accessible. Our aim is to work with organisations to ensure that important data, such as numbers of women on sports boards, in sport leadership positions and in coaching, officiating and manager positions, is consistently and regularly collected and reported.”
Professor Bruce says the result will be that organisations and individuals will have accurate information on which to measure progress, inform decision-making, and advocate for further change.
Women in Sport Aotearoa was initiated by Northern Mystics CEO Julie Paterson and Professor Sarah Leberman of Massey University and the network’s development was led by 21 foundation members including Professor Bruce.
Simultaneous launches are being held in Auckland and Wellington on the evening of March 8, and the Auckland launch will be live-streamed on Facebook.