Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Leadership program supports Pacific women in football

Leadership program supports Pacific women in football
June 11, 2019
Sport /

Four female leaders from Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tonga are participants in the Pacific Women’s Sports Leadership Program (PWSLP), funded by the Australian Government, which brings together women in sports leadership roles across the Pacific. It combines professional development workshops, knowledge sharing, networking and career planning, with the long-term aim of equipping women to be leaders in their communities and countries, not just in sport.

With the FIFA Women’s World Cup poised to sharpen the focus on opportunities for women in football, these four leaders from across the Pacific have spoken about their experiences as pioneering women in football, in a part of the world where men tend to occupy key roles in both sport and society.

In a short film about the program released on the eve of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, the women reflect on the challenges of being a female leader in sport, and how the program has equipped them to develop personally, and guide others around them.

Maria Rarawa, who works for the Solomon Islands Football Federation as the program manager for Just Play, a program that uses football activities to deliver key health and social messages in the community.

Rarawa is one of 22 women who took part in the most recent phase of the PWSLP in Samoa in late 2018 alongside participants working across seven countries, nine sports and four cross-sector sporting organisations, commented “we need more women leaders within sports within our own country. So many times, they’re all just men."

She was joined by football colleagues Lia Batirerega (Just Play coordinator with the Fiji Football Association), Lynetta Laumea-Edward (Just Play program manager with Football Federation Samoa) and Palu Uhatahi Tu’amoheloa (Just Play program manager with the Tonga Football Assocation).

Just Play (which is funded by the Australian Government through the Pacific Sports Partnerships, the New Zealand Government, the Football Federation of Australia, the UEFA Foundation for Children and UNICEF) has blazed a trail for women in sports leadership in the Pacific, employing female program managers in each of the eight countries in which it runs.

Through the week-long PWSLP workshop, participants were encouraged to explore their purpose, values, personal leadership journey and map out the next steps in that journey.

Laumea-Edward added “the program has motivated me to keep going strong.

“I believe that I have a purpose in life and, coming here is one of my purposes…to learn from everyone and to share my experiences with all the women leaders in sports. We don’t talk about our lives most of the time, but sharing our lives with our fellow sisters is really inspiring. At the end of the day, (I want to) become an influential leader.”

“It has changed my perception of who I am and what I am capable of doing,” added Rarawa. “I tell myself that I can do it, and I tell my team the same. That there is no ‘I can't’ but, instead, ‘I will try’ and ‘I can’.”

The PWSLP is part of a range of initiatives under the Australian Government’s Pacific Sports Partnerships (PSP) program, designed to create inclusive sport participation opportunities that promote health and social outcomes. PSP is delivered through partnerships between Australian, regional and Pacific island sports organisations to encourage shared learning and capacity building.  

The PWSLP is a collaboration between Cricket Australia, the International Cricket Council, and Netball Australia and began in 2016 in Papua New Guinea. It is delivered in partnership with Conversant, an Australian-based leadership organisation, and Weightless Films, with support from the International Table Tennis Federation and FIBA.

Image: Female sports leaders from seven Pacific countries met Australian counterparts at the Pacific Women's Sports Leadership Program in Samoa. Courtesy of PWSLP.

Related Articles

7th June 2019 - Industry leaders announced as members of Women in Sport Advisory Group

9th May 2019 - Strategy boosts profile of New Zealand Women in Sport

30th April 2019 - New Zealand Football’s first female President looks to ongoing growth in women’s game

7th March 2019 - Leadership programs launched to challenge gender diversity in Australian sport

5th March 2019 - FIFA announces lengthy ban for former Oceania Football Confederation President

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

1st February 2019 - Australian Government launches strategy for sporting diplomacy

16th May 2018 - AFL Shanghai fixture part of wider sporting diplomacy

13th October 2016 - New Zealander Sarai Bareman to head FIFA’s new Womens Football Division

11th April 2016 - New futsal court a ‘miracle’ for the Solomon Islands

26th June 2015 - Sport at the heart of Australian ‘soft diplomacy’

24th August 2013 - Oceania Football Federation pilot combines musical beats and football

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

WATERPLAY Solutions Corp

Whether your goal is increasing your centre's revenues or creating an engaging environment, why not add play to your project? If you're looking for stylish aquatic play features, kid-tested…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Play / Recreation / Waterparks


Worldwide Sports Management

Principal Consultant Simon Weatherill has spent the last 20 years developing the world renowned Melbourne Sports Hub, as former Chief Executive Officer of the State Sports Centres Trust…

read more

Aquatics / Consultants / Recreation / Sport / Venues


Enta Australasia

As of the 1st July 2018, Enta Australasia Pty Ltd/Best Union has been rebranded as VIVATICKET Pty Ltd.  Click here to view the VIVATICKET Pty Ltd listing.  19th July 2018 - ENTA…

read more

Technology / Ticketing / Venues



Developed in Europe, this innovative system offers a safety management solution for swimming pools that checks individual swimmers via their wristband - monitoring their depth and time. Sensors…

read more

Aquatics / Hospitality / Safety / Technology / Waterparks


Aflex Technology

Aflex Technology are the experts in all things inflatable. They are industry leaders offering the widest range of pool, lake and beach inflatables on the market. All products…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Waterparks



Rhinoplay offers playground equipment in Australia that is safe, durable, and most importantly fun! We specialise in creating unique indoor playgrounds for play centres and outdoor playgrounds for…

read more

Parks / Play / Surfaces


TouchCloud Global

Activating skyscapes for tourism, art, leisure and living TouchCloud Global (TCg) is a highly specialised international consultancy, broker and principal, devoted solely to activating and energising…

read more

Attractions / Consultants / Recreation / Safety / Tourism



Ecoline is a highly experienced and skilled company that offers world-first technology in safety, protects the environment and provides a unique and challenging custom-made adventure and educational…

read more

Attractions / Environment / Safety / Tourism


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business