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Source: Massey University

Two out of three female coaches work in another profession, and of these, 68 per cent work full time in their other profession.

Dr Sarah Leberman.

Alida Shanks.

Insights into Women Coaches in Aotearoa New Zealand are revealed in a series of three infographics released by High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ) together with Massey University.

The infographics outline the findings of a survey involving more than 300 respondents from a broad range of sports across New Zealand. The survey was the work of a time-limited working group established in 2019 to inform the design and implementation of HPSNZ’s future women in coaching initiatives.

Three visual infographics, available now on the HPSNZ website, showcase the Women Coaches in Aotearoa findings:

  1. Profile of our Coaches

  2. Inspiration and Challenges

  3. Putting it into Action

Sonia Boland, Women in High Performance Sport Manager at HPSNZ and a co-author of the survey, says they provide a knowledge foundation on which we can collectively draw to advance our work in attracting, developing and retaining more women in coaching, across all levels of sport in Aotearoa New Zealand.  

The infographics draw attention to realities like the fact two out of three female coaches work in another profession, and of these, 68 per cent work full time in their other profession.

“I often hear from sports that they know there is a problem, but they don’t know what to do about it, so the ability to take this information and practically apply it is useful.”

The survey found that challenges facing female coaches are diverse, multifaceted and interconnected but a common theme from respondents was a lack of hands-on coaching opportunities to allow women to develop as coaches to progress their coaching careers.

“From this survey, we now know more about what our female coaches want and that includes more time coaching ‘out on the pitch’ and, importantly, the opportunity to connect with, and learn from, their coaching peers – to build networks and connections.

“Here at HPSNZ that has been central to the approach we have taken in Te Hāpaitanga – our coaching initiative designed to grow the talent pool of emerging and future female high performance coaches.”

Analysis of the 2019 survey and the development of the infographics have been the collective work of Sonia, in collaboration with Massey University’s Dr Sarah Leberman and Alida Shanks.

Dr Leberman says the survey provides the first ever baseline information on women coaches in Aotearoa New Zealand.

“It is a starting point, providing data to support the goal of increasing the number of women and girls coaching at all levels, a commitment made in the 2018 Sport New Zealand Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation strategy.

“We designed the survey drawing on the ecological-intersectional model [LaVoi, 2016] to better understand the experiences of women coaches, in order to be able to compare our findings internationally. Critical to moving the dial, will be sport at all levels facilitating girls and women to coach and providing the requisite supports to enable a coaching pathway through to high performance for those women who aspire to that level”.