Is $2.7 million enough to level out inequality for women in sport?

By Taroi Black

Former sports star and current MP Louisa Wall says inequality for women in sports is still prevalent. To address this the government has announced $2.7 million towards a pilot which will see women equally represented in High Performance Sport.

“I think there is inequality. I think the inherent inequalities as we progress through the ranks you have to pay more money to participate,” says Wall.  

Labour MP Louisa Wall is a former Black Fern and Silver Ferns who represented New Zealand at the highest level whilst studying and working. 

“There should be a direct relationship with Government or NGO's who provide the opportunities or the sport has to say to themselves it's not worth us having a sub for the year if the people can't participate. So, I think the sport needs to take some leadership in this.

From my own experiences I know that I put a lot of pressure on my parents. I am the oldest of four children and they wanted me to do well. And providing me with those opportunities it means that there was a sacrifice somewhere else in the whānau and sometimes I think that sacrifice doesn't exist.”

For carded coaches in High Performance Sport, women only make up 20%.

Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson says, “Very few of the core are working in governance and management roles are women. So, $2.7 million to invest to have more women in those roles.”

The funding was announced at The Sport Womens + Girls Summit which is part of Sports NZ’s $10 million operation's funds that enable women and girls to be active. 

Sports NZ Chief Executive Peter Miskimmin says, “We are enormously encouraged by what we see the likes of football, the likes of cricket many more to come. But we are on a journey and you are right we haven't got that universally across all sports but it's heading into the right direction.”

However, the push for more financial backing in Māori sporting organisations remains to be seen.

“That's an opportunity in front of us, you know my children go to the Māori hockey tournament each year they really enjoy that opportunity and so I understand that culturally distinctive pathway it's been enormously important for Māori and so that's an opportunity that we're going to be sitting with national Māori sporting organisations to look at how we might be able to move that forward.”

The government's new funding will deliver a Women in High Performance Sport pilot project through to 2021.