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NZ Rugby hold inaugural conference for women in governance

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) held the inaugural Women in Governance Conference in Auckland today.

This was the first gathering of its kind in New Zealand and was opened by Prime Minister, Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, with guest speakers including Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle, World Rugby General Manager of Women’s Rugby Katie Sadleir, and former NZR Corporate Affairs General Manager, now Chief Executive of the Institute of Directors, Kirsten Patterson.

Over 40 women serving on NZR, Māori, Provincial Union and Super Rugby Boards, were hosted at the conference before attending the Black Ferns and All Blacks double header Test matches.

NZR Chair Brent Impey said: "The objective was to bring together women who hold governance roles across rugby to create a strong network of Directors and support the growth of more women in governance and leadership roles across rugby in New Zealand."

"The Board has prioritised diversity as part of its sucession planning and has already made important strategic commitments to women’s rugby including the appointment of former Black Ferns captain Dr Farah Palmer to the NZR Board, the appointment of NZR Head of Women’s Rugby Cate Sexton, increased funding for the women’s game, an historic first agreement that introduced professional contracts for Black Ferns, and a bid to host the 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup."

Additional actions taken to date to grow the diversity at a governance level in rugby include the implementation of the Diversity Report, three women are now seconded onto NZR Board sub-committees, the Constitution has been changed to ensure at least one female is a member of the Board Appointments Panel, and the number of appointed board positions has increased from three to six.

NZR Board Member Farah Palmer said: "NZR is committed to gender equity and is actively supporting the growth of women and girls through the Women’s Rugby Strategy.

"Together with the Black Ferns outstanding WRWC victory in Ireland last year, the Black Ferns Sevens Commonwealth Games gold medal and RWC7s win this year, we are seeing some remarkable engagement in the women’s game including increases in the number of girls and women playing.

"As the growth in women’s rugby continues it is important that we match that representation at the administration and governance level, identifying role models and pathways for women to contribute to rugby."

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