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Strategy boosts profile of New Zealand Women in Sport
According to Jennah Wootten, Sport New Zealand’s General Manager of Partnerships and Communications, the New Zealand Government’s Strategy on Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation, which was released last year, has provided a significant boost in sporting equality.
In a presentation today at the 2019 SportAccord Gold Coast convention, ‘New Zealand and Women in Sport’, Wootten addressed the challenges New Zealand is facing, the way the New Zealand Government and sport and recreation sectors are responding , and the challenges within the current media landscape.
The Strategy has three pillars: leadership; participation; and value and visibility.
Wootten stated that women are underrepresented on boards, in coaching and in all aspects of leadership. From December 2021, New Zealand is looking for a minimum of 40% female representation for actual investment.
Wootten highlighted that the Strategy had added profile and new momentum to what was already a powerful movement in New Zealand with Sport NZ having positioned girls and young women at the core of its Community Sport Strategy since 2015.
She advised “the Government Strategy and Sport NZ’s response to it are now enabling us to ramp this up even more by encouraging collective action across our sport and active recreation sector, so that we can achieve our vision of enabling more women and girls to realise their potential in and through sport and active recreation.”
With regard to participation, the second pillar of the Strategy, Wootten acknowledged that a major hurdle for the grassroots development of women and girls in sport, not just in New Zealand, but worldwide, is keeping teenagers active in sports participation, commenting “the biggest problem is addressing the rapid decline in participation that occurs during teenage years and from which at present there is no recovery during adult years.
“This is something Sport NZ is working hard to address through providing strategic direction for collective action across the sport and active recreation sector.
“We know that participation brings many societal, health and community benefits. Sport can also help develop confidence, teamwork and leadership skills.
“Research shows a direct correlation between participation in sport and greater achievement in higher education and employment, so it’s crucial we grow teenage participation as a priority.”
As far as the third pillar of the Strategy, Value and Visibility, Wootten recognises that the poor coverage of women sport in New Zealand's - both traditional and social, needs to change for women to realise their full potential in the sport media landscape.
She added “new organisations such as the Women in Sport Aotearoa (WISPA) have been formed to improve the representation of women in sports media, and WISPA has led a consortium of agencies in securing the secretariat and hosting rights for the World Conference of the International Working Group on Women in Sport from 2018 to 2022.”
Wootten acknowledged some of the inspirational women in NZ’s sports administration including Kereyn Smith, Dame Therese Walsh, Dr Farah Palmer, Katie Sadleir, Raelene Castle and Joanna Adams.
Images: Jennah Wootten (top) and (below, from left) Sport NZ Chief Executive Peter Miskimmin, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson at the launch of the Women and Girls in Sport & Active Recreation Strategy in October 2018.
15th April 2019 - 2019 New Zealand Sport and Recreation Awards finalists announced
31st October 2018 - Sport NZ seeks public views on sporting integrity
22nd June 2018 - New Zealand high performance sport model ‘not fit for purpose’
19th March 2018 - Study shows New Zealanders appreciate the Value of Sport
27th February 2018 - Sport NZ announces Future Leaders Scholarship
11th December 2017 - Raelene Castle set to be named Chief Executive at Rugby Australia
1st May 2017 - Curtain falls on ‘best Games ever’
31st May 2016 - New Zealand’s major sports commit to diversity and inclusion
2nd June 2015 - Therese Walsh made a Dame in Queen’s Birthday Honours
28th October 2014 - Women are ‘second class citizens’ in sport governance and management
9th October 2012 - New Zealand plan to get more women on to the boards of sport organisations
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