Government chips in $10m to shake up women's sport

Women's sport is set for a shake-up and our leading organisations have been challenged to get on board.

A $10 million boost from the Government will see increased participation and visibility - as well as more female leaders.

The focus is on removing the roadblocks for our leading women's coaches to make it to the top.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern issued the rallying cry to the country's sporting organisations.

"When women's sport is just called sport, that'll be a day we can all celebrate," she said.

Among their targets is increasing the number of women in leadership and coaching roles.

"We have to create an environment where athletes are encouraged to excel and are supported to be the best people that they can be as well," said Sports Minister Grant Robertson.

"Clearly, in some sports, there's work to do."

Statistics from a 2017 survey show just 33 percent of high-performance coaches are female, with males dominating the coaching landscape.

With the Black Sticks, Black Ferns and Tall Ferns all led by men, White Ferns cricket coach Haidee Tiffen is an exception.

"I think, at times, it is challenging for woman to get involved in sport, because there is that unconscious bias that men know more about whatever sport they're in," said Tiffen.

Women in Sport Aotearoa wants teams to catch up.

"What we find is a lot of sporting organisations have this inherent belief that only a male coach is able to understand and get the best performance out of an athlete," said Women in Sport Aotearoa chief executive Rachel Froggatt.

It thinks organisations are still struggling with "unconscious bias" against females, with aspiring coaches struggling to get their feet in the door.

"A former athlete spent time getting her coaching qualification and spending time with young kids, and she spent two years looking for a top flight coaching job, before she just gave up," said Froggatt.
"She thought this is never going to happen for me."

The Government wants at least 40 percent of sporting boards to be made up of females by 2021 and is hoping the number of coaches will follow a similar trend.