The Impact: Sport NZ Women & Girls Summit 2019

Last month, leaders in the field of sport and recreation gathered at the Sport NZ Women & Girls summit at Te Papa Museum. With a diverse lineup of 32 speakers, featuring both seasoned and aspiring professionals, and those of all different abilities and backgrounds, women and girls were represented well and the message was clear. We've done the strategising and it's time to act. With Dr. Nicole Lavoi sharing the data we need to change conversations and Karen Skinner of NZ Rugby showing how culture change can happen, by the end of the day the most ambitious of goals felt like practical solutions.

There was an overwhelming number of delegates at the summit this year, nearly doubling that of last year's She Moves Symposium. According to Active NZ's New Zealand Participation Survey 2018, young women participate in sport and active recreation 90 minutes less per week than young men. To make a more active Aotearoa we need to create opportunities for women to shape how they participate, because no one knows the barriers they're facing better than the people facing them. With more and more women having the courage to make their voices heard in a world that's told them they're always "too" something, it's encouraging to see increasing numbers of male delegates recognizing that this cause affects them directly, and that, as Dr. Lavoi rightly stated: "A world that's better for women, is better for all".

How to act? Now.

With calls to action being announced in every field, the importance of equitable treatment and prioritization of women's input has been a common theme across them all. Change cannot happen without diverse and empathetic voices, but it can be overwhelming to think of all that needs to be done at every level for us to see the systemic change that really makes a difference.

The Women & Girls Summit inspired the audience to identify ways they can take action in their current roles, even if they aren't the ones making the 'big' decisions at CEO levels. With scholarships granted for young women across Aotearoa to attend the event, Women in Sport Aotearoa, the Shift Foundation and Sport NZ demonstrated how we can create meaningful opportunities for the future leaders in our industry with simple initiatives. These are the investments that will pay off tenfold in the not-so distant future.

Rather than focusing on everything that needs to be changed in the world right now, try and think backwards. What do you want to see in it? If you can't directly change that now, what is something you can do to facilitate that change for the future? We've planned well over the years, and however small your action may be, that's what is needed today.

Click here for the event wrap up video

For more information on the organisations that made this event possible, check out these links:

The Shift Foundation NZ
Women in Sport Aotearoa
Sport New Zealand

- Mariah Godin, 2019

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