Government launches Strategy for Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation

  • Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern
  • Hon Grant Robertson
Prime Minister Sport and Recreation

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson have launched a new strategy that champions equality for New Zealand women and girls in sport and active recreation.

The new strategy, launched on the United Nations Day of the Girl, delivers on the Government’s top sports priorities of increasing support for women athletes and improving the rates and quality of participation for women in sport.  

“Our new strategy for Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation seeks to tackle and overcome the clear inequalities for women and girls when it comes to participation, leadership and visibility within sport and active recreation in New Zealand,” Jacinda Ardern said. 

“Girls and women are 50 percent of our population, and it’s not good enough that they continue to be underrepresented in leadership, face more barriers to participating, and are far less valued and visible in sport and active recreation. This strategy seeks to even the playing field.

“Showcasing our inspiring women sporting heroes will help drive women and girls participation. Achieving pay equity for our top female athletes and a new journalism prize for coverage of women’s sport will help to raise the profile of our top women athletes.  

“I am pleased we have a strategy to grow female representation in governance, and that the Government is role modelling change through ensuring Sport NZ and High Performance Sport NZ have equal numbers of men and women on their governance boards. I encourage all national sports organisations to look at how they can increase the numbers of women in leadership and governance roles.”

Minister Robertson said it was an honour to announce both the Government’s strategy and the commitments and investment being made towards delivering on this through Sport NZ.

“Through Sport NZ the Government will invest at least $10m over the next three years on initiatives in the strategy. These include an integrated marketing campaign and contestable activation fund, together with increased efforts to grow female leadership, coaching and governance,” Grant Robertson said.

“A change this big – this important – will take collective effort. The focus is on three priority areas: leadership, participation, and value and visibility. It is grounded in a clear set of measures of success in each area.

“Delivery of the strategy will be in partnership with the community. Sport NZ will lead from the front in mobilising and giving momentum to that collective action. We want all organisations in the sport and recreation sector to consider how they can work through the strategy to help create equality for women and girls.”

The Sport NZ initiatives included among its commitments include:

  • An integrated marketing campaign to increase participation, visibility and value
  • A contestable activation fund to seek and enable fresh ideas and approaches for getting more women and girls physically active.
  • Increased efforts to grow female leadership, coaching and governance.
  • Role modelling change within Sport NZ and High Performance Sport NZ, both of whom now have gender equity on their boards.
  • Supporting partners to make their own organisational change, and more broadly drive initiatives to support women and girls realising their leadership ambitions.
  • Developing a Champions for Change programme with key sector leaders. These will be powerful advocates for our critically important movement.
  • Publishing a media audit and developing a social media index to track progress in raising the visibility of sportswomen through traditional media and sector social media channels.
  • Continuing to provide support for the International Working Group on Women in Sport, the secretariat for which now resides in New Zealand through until the next global IWG World Conference that will be held in Auckland in 2022.
  • Using nine key metrics to measure and report against the three priority areas of leadership, participation, and value and visibility.

For more information on how you can contribute to the Strategy for Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation, visit