The OFC’s commitment to women’s football took another step last night, with the launch of the Gender Equality Playbook. An event held on Auckland’s Viaduct saw the Playbook officially shown to the public after months of research and authorship.
Last year OFC launched it’s ALL IN Women’s Football Strategy and have been using the momentum building around the hosting of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in New Zealand and Australia next year to accelerate progress being made in the development of a more inclusive and equal sport across Oceania.
The Playbook marks the first step in OFC’s Pacific Legacy Programme as we work to first understand the context and give voice to our intended beneficiaries before we deliver programmes and activities that address or remove barriers. OFC Head of Social Responsibility Michael Armstrong was full of praise for the project, which has been the result of a year of research and development.
“The Playbook sets out some clear actions that we can take as a region. For us, it’s going to be a guidebook and a start of a conversation that we can have with our MAs and other stakeholders that can really drive forward some specific actions that we can take to address inequality.”
Globally there have been significant developments in the opportunities for and value in women’s football. Research suggests an overwhelming majority support greater opportunities for women to participate and up to a six fold increase in the value of women’s football is expected in the next decade.
Development of women’s sport requires intentional and strategic action that acknowledges the unique Oceania context, including specific challenges and opportunities. While there has been a great deal of research globally looking at how we can grow women’s sport and promote a more equitable society through sport, there has been little work focusing directly on the Oceania region.
Dr. Johanna Wood, president of NZ Football, said that:
“I think gender equality is so important because it provides a platform for being inclusive. If we don’t have equality, we can’t be truly inclusive, in anything we do.
“So, we need to have some measures. What will equality look like? This gives us a starting point. I think the Playbook will help the OFC region by providing a toolkit that will enable MAs to look at what they’re doing and evaluate what they’re doing, then come up with a plan to address those issues for women and girls in the Pacific.”
The Playbook explores the barriers and strategic actions required to deliver greater equality in our region across the following interconnected areas:
- Media and visibility
- Sport Policy
- Promoting Equality and Preventing violence
The last focus area is of particular importance. Football, and other sports, is seen as a valuable site for primary prevention in changing knowledge, attitudes and practices to stop violence before it starts and to stamp out gender based violence in sporting contexts.
“We have a great platform here to change attitudes, behaviors and beliefs across the Pacific,” said Armstrong.
“I’m really pleased we got to this point, the big win tonight is having so many sports and stakeholders in this space. I’m really hoping we can use this opportunity to lay the foundation for further collaboration. I’m really pleased with the conversations that it’s started.”
The Launch event was delivered in the margins of the International Working Group for Women and Sport (IWG) World Conference. Global experts and sport administrators converged on Auckland for the week-long IWG conference. This included strong representation from the Pacific region thanks to the New Zealand Government commitments to leave a legacy of gender equality across the Pacific. Among them were 10 representatives from OFC’s Social Responsibility programmes.
The Gender Equality Playbook would not have been possible without the support of the New Zealand Government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and developed in collaboration with UN Women Fiji Multi Country Office, and from the 1000’s of contributors who engaged in research and consultation over the last 18 months.