IWG World Conference An Opportunity To Inspire Change

Last month, around 20 leaders from the New Zealand basketball community attended the eighth IWG World Conference on Women & Sport. Held in Tāmaki Makaurau in Auckland, this was the largest gathering in the world to focus on the advancement of gender equity and equality in both sport and physical activity.  

The conference theme was ‘Change Inspires Change’, which focused on empowering individuals to make positive change for women and girls in sport and physical activity worldwide. The concept follows a simple premise: “every change you make, no matter how small or large, inspires the next, and the next. By sharing your story, you can help inspire others to make change.”

As well as the large group in attendance at the conference, other basketball leaders were among more than 500 featured speakers across the four days – including Basketball New Zealand (BBNZ) board member Megan Compain; Jody Cameron, Tall Ferns Assistant Coach/HPSNZ Te Hāpaitanga lead; Dr. Stephen Bird, BBNZ Head of Athlete Performance and Lazy Sneakers founder Maia Mariner.

Meaghan Wilby, BBNZ Participation and Wellbeing Lead says that she was proud to see the amount of representation from the basketball community in attendance.

“As a single sport we had one of, if not the largest contingent of people in attendance – at what is widely considered the pinnacle global event for the advancement of women in sport,” says Wilby.

“To me, this was a great symbol of the progress we’re making towards ensuring that basketball truly is a sport for all New Zealanders, at all levels of the game.”

Thanks to support from FIBA, ten young women from this year’s inaugural BBNZ Emerging Leaders Programme were also supported to attend the conference – both in-person and virtually. Emerging Leader, Sophie Currie says that attending the conference has helped ‘cement’ her lifelong love of sport and basketball.

“I am so grateful to BBNZ for advocating for the Emerging Leaders to attend the conference; this was a chance to pick the brains of people from international organisations like the IOC and FIBA, along with esteemed academics is mind blowing,” says Currie.   

“I loved being able to connect with people from a variety of backgrounds, challenging my views to broaden my perspective and to get a glimpse into the challenges those before us have overcome. There was a real sense of engaging the voice of youth and it made it real that the torch is coming our way.”

BBNZ’s Emerging Leaders Programme aims to empower Kōhine (young women) to become leaders and to have a voice – and the ability to make positive change – in their basketball communities across the country. FIBA Executive Director – Oceania, Amanda Jenkins says it was fantastic to meet the young women involved in this program.

FIBA’s Women In Basketball strategy is a key pillar for our sport, and initiatives like BBNZ’s Emerging Leaders program fits perfectly with what we are hoping to achieve – more females across all facets of our sport,” said Jenkins.

It was fantastic to meet these emerging leaders – you could see and hear the passion they have for our sport and I look forward to seeing many of them again in the future.”

Find out more about BBNZ’s Emerging Leaders Programme at http://bbnz.link/5mhp5