Article from George Heagney – 15:48, Aug 08 2019

Making women’s sport more visible and encouraging young people are ways of promoting more females into sport, experts say.

Sport Manawatū held a girls and women in sport breakfast at the Sport and Rugby Institute at Massey University on Thursday, where the group heard from guest speakers who talked about how they got to where they are in sport, then discussed ideas.

Guest speakers were New Zealand Football president and FIFA executive committee member Johanna Wood, Manawatū under-19 netball co-captain Suraya Goss, player agent Kelly Evans and hockey coach Verity Sharland, who has taken the Central under-18 team to the past three national titles.

Massey professor of leadership Sarah Leberman compered the event.

“We talked about women being visible in sport, having the opportunities and encouraging young people, young women particularly, to take any opportunity.”

She said women have been involved for a long time, but haven’t been visible.

Wood is a former Red Sox-Manawatū stalwart and had a long involvement with Central Football.

Sharland said a diverse group attended, from athletes, coaches, people in governance, parents, and they were all right behind women in sport.

“It’s about trying to connect the women we have in the community and for everyone to recognise their value.”

She said it was important to stay involved in sport, because many people drifted away, and appreciate what skills people brought to the table.

Leberman said the future was young people, so there had to be equal opportunities for women to showcase what they could do.

“​It’s just great to celebrate the range of experts that we have in women’s sport in Manawatū – the wide range of people involved at all levels, mainly as volunteers, from the club right through to international.”

Leberman praised the decision announced last year, where, through Sport New Zealand, the Government would invest at least $10 million over the next three years on women and girls’ sport and recreation, including professional sporting opportunities.

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