There is a lot of work to do before men and wome e
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
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The Black Ferns pay their respects to the late Colin Meads before the World Cup final in Belfast last month. The wome e