The NZ Government is committed to championing equality for women and girls in Aotearoa New Zealand. They know there are clear inequalities for women and girls when it comes to participation, and their wider involvement and visibility within active recreation and sport in New Zealand.

Their research has found the following:

· On average females spend 12 per cent less time participating per week than males

· They want to participate more, but the barriers to participating are significantly higher for females

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· Females are more likely to be dissatisfied than males with their sports club experience

· Females want to have fun and socialise; feel safe to participate; they do not want to be judged; and want to feel confident doing what they are doing.

There is an exciting opportunity to improve the opportunities, visibility and value for women and girls through the Government's Strategy for Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation which strives to achieve equity for all women and girls as well as seeking to understand and address the multiple barriers women and girls can face.

The vision for the strategy is to enable women and girls to realise their potential in and through sport and active recreation. It has three priority areas: leadership, participation, and value and visibility. Above all it aims to ensure that all women and girls, in all roles, are visible, feel positive about the contribution they make, and value being involved and participating in all levels of sport and active recreation.

This strategy picks up the momentum of a global movement towards empowering women and girls through being active, recognising the value of this as a means to improve wellbeing and equity. It acknowledges that women and girls have differing needs that must be met in order to best support and engage with them.

Through Sport NZ, the Government will invest at least $10m over the next three years on 22 initiatives to enable more women and girls to realise their potential in and through sport and active recreation. These include:

· An integrated marketing campaign to increase participation, visibility and value

· A contestable activation fund to seek and enable fresh ideas and approaches for getting more women and girls physically active

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· Supporting partners to make their own organisational change, and more broadly drive initiatives to support women and girls realising their leadership ambitions

· Developing a Champions for Change programme with key sector leaders – these will be powerful advocates for this critically important movement

Next week's article will feature an initiative in the Mid-North that is seeking to overcome the barriers preventing females from participating more in active recreation and sport.