Sports researcher and co-founder of Women in Sports Aotearoa, Massey University Professor Sarah Leberman has won the sports category in Next Woman of the Year.


She advocates for women and gender equality in sport and through her new research has found that female representation in coaching sport is completely underwhelming.

Professor Leberman points to the New Zealand rugby's female teams, the Black Ferns and the Black Ferns sevens, which are both coached by men, as is the Black Sticks hockey team.

Her research outlines a vast number of challenges for women becoming coaches at national level, including gender stereotyping, hiring practices, the existence of "the old boys club", complexities of women's lives when having a family, lack of support networks, female confidence levels and gender imbalance at governance level.

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Professor Leberman says creating visibility, role models and pathways for female coaches will help the situation — and has set out to achieve exactly that.