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Helen Clark named global Patron for International Working Group on Women and Sport

Helen Clark named global Patron for International Working Group on Women and Sport
March 19, 2019

Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark has been named as the new global Patron for the International Working Group (IWG) on Women and Sport - with Auckland announced as the host city for the 8th IWG World Conference in 2022.

Clark, the former Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and 37th Prime Minister of New Zealand, becomes Patron of the IWG on Women and Sport Secretariat & Conference 2018 - 2022, and its delivery agent, Women in Sport Aotearoa.

With the 8th IWG World Conference will take place from 5th to 8th May 2022 at the New Zealand International Convention Centre (NZICC) in Auckland, Clark advised "I am very pleased to accept the invitation to become Patron of the International Working Group on Women and Sport globally and in New Zealand, of Women in Sport Aotearoa.

“I strongly believe that women and girls deserve equity of opportunity to participate, compete and build careers in sport and recreation - and in all other parts of life. I plan to help increase awareness and engagement across sport, government, business and media, both in New Zealand and abroad."

Raewyn Lovett, New Zealand Co-Chair of the IWG, added "it’s an enormous honour to have Helen Clark become our global Patron, as we work toward achieving gender equity in sport.

“Helen is a well-known gender rights advocate and her national and international networks are simply unparalleled.”

The 2022 IWG World Conference is expected to attract over 1,500 global experts in gender equity in sport and physical activity.

The announcement follows a wave of activity for IWG and Women in Sport Aotearoa on the global stage with Professor Sarah Leberman, Co-Chair, Women in Sport Aotearoa and Rachel Froggatt, IWG Secretary General and Chief Executive, Women in Sport Aotearoa) last week addressing the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63) session in New York, USA.

Professor Leberman presented event alongside world leading women’s sport experts, including Nancy Lee, Head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Gender Equality Review Project.

Froggatt also attended the event, entitled ‘Sustainable infrastructure creation for gender equality in sport and physical activity for girls and women’, which took place last Wednesday.

Representing New Zealand as a delegate, Froggatt set about building international networks for IWG and Women in Sport Aotearoa and raising interest in the 8th IWG World Conference.

The IWG is the world’s largest network dedicated empowering women and girls and advancing sport. Established in May 1994, the network developed and is guardian of the Brighton Declaration on Women and Sport. Updated in 2014, the Brighton plus Helsinki Declaration now has over 550+ signatories - global organisations demonstrating their commitment to ensuring that women and girls can freely and safely participate, compete and build careers in sport.

Among them stand the IOC, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and world football governing body FIFA.

The global IWG Secretariat - the administrative function - shifts every four years. The 1st IWG World Conference, Brighton 1994, took place in the UK. Since then, IWG host nations have included Windhoek, Namibia (1994 to 1998); Montreal, Canada (1998 to 2002); Kumamoto, Japan (2002 to 2006); Sydney (2006 to 2010); Helsinki, Finland (2010 to 2014); and Gabarone, Botswana (2014 to 2018).

Following a competitive bid in 2018, New Zealand won the right to become international host nation for the 2018-2022 quadrennial. The bid was led by Women in Sport Aotearoa, in partnership with Sport New Zealand; the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE); Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED); the Ministry for Women; Tourism New Zealand and the New Zealand Olympic Committee.

In September 2018, a delegation from IWG Botswana visited Auckland to hand over the reins to Women in Sport Aotearoa, now global delivery agent for the international Secretariat programme and host of the 8th IWG World Conference.

Click here for more information on the 8th IWG World Conference in the Australasian Leisure Management industry Calendar.

Images courtesy of Women in Sport Aotearoa.

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8th February 2019 - Sport Australia’s Kate Palmer says now is the time to stop talking about ‘women’s sport’

12th October 2018 - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern launches Sport NZ Strategy for Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation

3rd May 2018 - Industry gains recognition in New Zealand’s Women in Governance Awards

28th October 2017 - New ATEED Head of Tourism appointed

31st May 2016 - New Zealand’s major sports commit to diversity and inclusion

7th July 2015 - 25 major events to draw crowds to Auckland

28th October 2014 - Women are ‘second class citizens’ in sport governance and management

15th September 2014 - Global index shows slight rise in women in sport leadership roles

7th July 2014 - Women are ‘second class citizens’ in sport

9th October 2012 - New Zealand plan to get more women on to the boards of sport organisations

26th September 2012 - Governor-General to open inaugural Asia Pacific World Sport and Women Conference

11th September 2012 - Conference to engage women in sport management and participation

9th March 2010 - Registrations open for Women and Sport Conference


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