New Zealand Raises the Bar For Equity in Sports

23rd March 2023

Held last November, the 8th IWG World Conference On Women & Sport in Aotearoa, New Zealand was crowned as very successful on the equity, accessibility and legacy fronts.

Hosted at the Te Pokapū Aotea Centre in Auckland, it attracted 1850 participants with more than 50 global speakers, over 220 workshops and talks, online fitness classes, local adventures and an off-site indigenous event. 

The conversation about women and their role in sports has a two-year platform in New Zealand since the IWG event coincides with hosting the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup in 2022; the 2022 Rugby World Cup; and the FIFA Women’s World Cup this year.

Capitalising on those events, the IWG conference put a spotlight on what still needs to change, including diversity in leadership, commercialising women’s sport and equitable facilities. It offered equity of voices in its program, with indigenous Māori values integrated in the proceedings, First Nations people signing calls to actions and young voices participating as speakers.

The conference had quite an impact, as it gifted its online Insight Hub, a one-stop shop now used as a publicly held resource of free tools and information to help further gender equity in sports and recreation. Another legacy example was delegates ensuring females playing in their codes were included in discussions about sports uniforms.

The event was accessible to people with reduced mobility and hearing impairments and was translated in two languages. Sustainability was also high on the agenda as the conference was held in-person with fully virtual options to reduce travel costs. Furthermore,the air travel emissions of the conference’s international participants were calculated, with a native tree planting programme undertaken to neutralise the impact. The organisers worked together with environmentally responsible partners for energy saving and food management.

Tourism New Zealand General Manager NZ & Business Events Bjoern Spreitzer says: “It’s exciting to see Aotearoa New Zealand deliver a conference that is so progressive in all aspects. It shows innovation in delivering a more sustainable event; inclusivity, particularly in highlighting youth and indigenous voices; and a real commitment to inspiring and delivering tangible change for women and girls in sport and recreation in New Zealand and beyond. I can’t wait to see what further positive impacts arise from hosting this event.”

Watch here videos on the many activities of the IWG.

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