Gender-equality in sports; it’s obvious we don’t yet have it otherwise it wouldn’t pop up on our newsfeed all the time. But, I have an optimistic outlook on the future of gender-equality in New Zealand sports.
Many were thrilled by New Zealand Football’s announcement earlier this month. Equal working conditions for both the All Whites and Football Ferns.
A national first and hopefully the start of many gender-equal movements in New Zealand sports.
The three-year agreement grants equality in three areas. Pay and travel parity, equal prizemoney, and equal rights for image use.
But are Female athletes in New Zealand receiving fair treatment overall?
In April, I was scrolling through an article about Black Fern Sevens player Michaela Blyde and was disappointed to find it was framed in a manner similar more suited to cover a Kardashian.
Rather than focus on her outstanding performance at the Commonwealth Games, the journalist writes about Blyde breaking down after hearing about her boyfriend, Adrian Ross’ serious ankle injury.
“An emotional Blyde, who was consoled by her mother, was devastated for her partner,” the article said.
At least female athletes are gradually getting more media coverage, right?
Auckland University lecturer and former sports journalist Toni Bruce disagrees, saying the coverage of Female athletes in New Zealand has hovered around 10 per cent for the last 30 years.
Massey University’s Sarah Leberman supports that argument.
"So many days I read the sports section, and all is see is men, men, men,” she says.
Former Black Fern and Sky TV commentator Melodie Robinson helped form The Wonderful Group last year to address the lack of women working in sports media.
Whether we like it or not, females are a sporting minority. Just like other sporting minorities they receive minimal funding, coverage, and recognition.
Yet, many forget there is criteria that must be met in the sporting world.
Media coverage is given to the sports’ which serve the public interest. If people won’t care, it won’t be covered.
Funding is similar. High Performance Sport New Zealand fund teams based on their performance, international context, and potential.
But it isn’t all bleak. I strongly believe 2018 has been the turning point for women in sport.
Slowly we are seeing female athletes in our newspapers, female sports reporters on tv, and now athletes are starting to get pay parity.
The Commonwealth Games in April were a watershed moment for gender-equality. It was the first time in the history of major sports-festivals that there were equal number of male and female events.
The equal working rights recently announced by New Zealand Football is another leap in the right direction.
The road to gender-equality in sport sure is a long one, but we are getting there slowly but surely.
Pass or Play
Floorball. A sport that has rising popularity in New Zealand. Floorball is a type of field hockey with 5 players and a goalie. It is an indoor game played in three 20minute periods. The game is fast-paced and gives players the ability to do some pretty epic tricks. Great for an ex-hockey player, or someone fast looking for something new.
“FEDERER” can be typed entirely with the left hand.