Oceania Football Confederation > News > Women's Football > Bareman repping on global stage

Bareman repping on global stage

During the FIFA Extraordinary Congress on 26 February the reforms were passed with an overwhelming majority which was an important moment for Bareman and her reform colleagues.
But it was an equally important moment for all women involved in football across the globe.
In 2015 FIFA hosted the first FIFA Women’s Football and Leadership Conference which is held to coincide with International Women’s Day.
This year Bareman features on the panel alongside some of football’s big names like recently retired USA player Abby Wambach and French Football Federation General Secretary Brigitte Henriques, as well as some incredible female role-models from across the world of sport from Billie Jean King, founder of the Women’s Sports Foundation, to BBC Director of Sport Barbara Slater.
The conference, which will be live streamed on FIFA.com and on FIFA’s Youtube channel on 7 March (in Zurich), is split into three sessions; Taking Women’s Football to the Next Level, Diversity for Success and 2016 FIFA Reforms – Women’s Football & Women in Football.
oceaniafootball.com put some questions to Bareman ahead of the big event to get an understanding of her role with the FIFA Reforms and her work as an advocate for women in football.
OFC Media: There are some excellent speakers includingon the panel this year, what does it mean for you to be included alongside them?
Sarai Bareman: “It is an honour. I am so blessed to be alongside these amazing women, and men, and I am really looking forward to hearing what they have to share. There is a feeling of change in the air for Women’s Football and for these speakers to lend their voices to this change is very significant for FIFA and all football as a whole.”
OFC Media: Why is an event like this conference important for raising the profile of women’s football?
Sarai Bareman: “An event like this is so important as it brings together people from diverse backgrounds, including non-football people, to discuss topics that are very close to our hearts. These topics are something that many of us live and discuss daily in our everyday jobs – and this really helps us to feel as though we are not alone in our challenges. When you have someone like Billie Jean King lending her voice to your cause, a women who is so revered on a global scale, this makes people stand up and listen.”
OFC Media: You are including in session 3: 2016 FIFA Reforms – Women’s Football and Women in Football, can you share anything about your experience as the sole woman on the Reforms Committee? Was it a daunting experience?
Sarai Bareman: What was most daunting about this experience was knowing that our task was so vital to the future of FIFA and of football in the world. We had a heavy weight of expectation and responsibility on our shoulders – and for me, as the sole female member, I felt that I was representing all women in football across the globe. This is something I didn’t take lightly and if anything, it served to motivate me and drive me.”
OFC Media: What difference do you think your female voice added to the reforms?
Sarai Bareman: “Any diversity in a decision making body leads to improvements in the decision making process. This is something we have consistently said in the last eight months when pushing for greater representation of women in football governance. I consider that I was able to bring some diversity into the discussions and the debates. I was able to bring a perspective from not only a female point of view, but also as a representative of the Pacific, of Samoa and of New Zealand.”
OFC Media: There are plenty of challenges for woman wanting to be involved in football globally, and in OFC there are a lot of region-specific barriers as well – do you see Oceania making progress in this field in the near future?
Sarai Bareman: “Yes. In OFC we are currently working on several new initiatives which will go a long way towards breaking down some of those barriers. This includes the development of a Leadership Development Programme for Women. This will be a platform where all aspiring female leaders in football can develop and improve their skills as leaders and role models in our sport. It will be a region-specific programme where the unique issues that we have Oceania can be addressed and discussed.”
OFC Media: What is your vision for the women’s game in the Pacific?
Sarai Bareman: “My vision is to see more organised competitions for girls and women of all ages and abilities. In the past few years we have seen a significant increase in the involvement of girls and young women in football – what we need now is more opportunity for these women to participate in consistent, organised tournaments at local, regional and international level.”
OFC Media: Would you like to see more women from Oceania joining you at this event in the future and do you believe that is a possibility?
Sarai Bareman: Yes, we have some incredible men and women making a real difference in the Oceania region and I would love to see more of them represented at events like this. It’s very important for those of us who are in positions of influence to encourage, push and guide the women with potential. This is part of giving back and ensuring that we leave a legacy.”
The FIFA Women’s Football & Leadership Conference ‘Equality through Reform’ will be held at the Home of FIFA in Zurich from 8am-5pm on Monday 7 March (local).
The event will be streamed live on www.fifa.com
You can view the conference agenda here


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