There is a lot of work to do be­fore men and wome e

Sunday News - - WOMEN IN SPORT -

Crowd news­pa­pers, and tele­vi­sion cov­er­age. Not only is women’s sport not cov­ered as much as men’s it’s cov­ered dif­fer­ently.’’


Last year New Zealand Rugby ap­pointed its first fe­male board mem­ber since it was es­tab­lished in 1892. For­mer Black Fern Farah Palmer was called up to the plate.

How­ever, for this ap­point­ment to make any dif­fer­ence to the way rugby is gov­erned, there needs to be more women ap­pointed and the trend needs to con­tinue, says Massey Uni­ver­sity aca­demic pro­fes­sor Sarah Le­ber­man.

Le­ber­man is an ex­pert in fe­male lead­ers of sport and says the amount of women in lead­er­ship roles on New Zealand sport­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions is ‘‘woe­ful’’ and has seen very lit­tle change in the past six years since she be­gan col­lect­ing data.

‘‘The short an­swer is, no we don’t think we have enough on na­tional or re­gional sports trusts or boards. Things are im­prov­ing slowly but it’s glacial. We are not mak­ing big mas­sive leaps, but the tide is chang­ing.

‘‘Fifty per cent of our pop­u­la­tion are women so they need to be on these pan­els mak­ing de­ci­sions on fund­ing, for these fe­male play­ers. We are a long way off this.’’

Le­ber­man said boards were of­ten made up of the white, older males, which she strug­gles to be­lieve could re­late to en­tire sport­ing de­mo­graph­ics.

She said the di­ver­sity range on NZ sport­ing bod­ies was ‘‘woe­ful’’.

The ar­gu­ment that there are not enough qual­i­fied women for these po­si­tions was com­pletely false, she said, and the quick fix for equal­ity would be to write a ‘50 per cent’ rule into the con­sti­tu­tion of sport­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions.

NZR’s Palmer agreed it was a good thing to have a fe­male in­volved in de­ci­sion mak­ing, and she is of­ten push­ing for the women’s side of the game at board meet­ings.

‘‘I can’t help my­self [push for women’s rugby], ev­ery­one is very pas­sion­ate about rugby our vi­sion is to have ev­ery­one play­ing the game.’’

Prov­ing the point that as a woman in a high po­si­tion of sport one needs to show ex­tra dili­gence, Palmer says she is con­scious of prov­ing her worth on the board.

‘‘It is im­por­tant [to have a woman on the board] and I don’t want to stuff it up for the next woman who comes on board, so I go in very pre­pared and well re­searched.’’

Palmer ad­mit­ted she would like to see more women join her at the NZ Rugby board ta­ble. ‘‘Women’s rugby is part and par­cel of NZ Rugby, it is part of the growth and part of our duty.’’

But Palmer ad­mit­ted the Black Ferns were up against it for a host of rea­sons and pro­fes­sion­al­ism is ‘‘a very long way off’’.

I feel like these shows can al­ways have one woman on a panel and they are al­ways a to­ken and never a leader. It feels like to­kenism and yes they do of­ten get judged on what you look like. HAYLEY HOLT


In the past New Zealand has taken for granted the fact Kiwi women con­tin­u­ally de­liver medals, tro­phies and cups, dom­i­nat­ing on a world­wide scale, with­out the

The Black Ferns pay their re­spects to the late Colin Meads be­fore the World Cup fi­nal in Belfast last month. The wome e

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