Women in Sport Network Event - Celebrating Male Allyship

by Aktive
Published on Thursday 14 March, 2024
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Recognising the important role men play in driving and supporting gender equity in sport and recreation provided thought-provoking discussion at Aktive’s recent Women in Sport Network event, attended by more than 60 sector leaders from across Auckland.

Held at AUT Millennium, the event was delivered by Aktive with a panel session comprising Brett O’Riley, Chief Executive, Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA); DJ Forbes, General Manager, Athlete Leaders Network; and David George, Chief Executive, Sport Waitākere.

The panellists talked about what a privilege it is being a male ally and an advocate of women in sport and recreation. They spoke about the benefits of being a male ally, both personally and for the organisations they lead.  

The group also shared personal experiences including situations where others have not shared the same views on gender equity and the challenges this brings. Another critical point was not taking the voice of females away by being the voice.

Other insights included:

  • Brett O’Riley, Chief Executive, EMA encouraged attendees to capitalise on every opportunity to encourage the development of women and transgender communities who deserve voice in sport: “Ambivalence is not helpful – if you have the intent, anything is possible.”
  • David George, Chief Executive, Sport Waitākere emphasised this: “To create equality, you need to understand equity.”
  • DJ Forbes, General Manager, Athlete Leaders Network spoke about understanding boundaries and that there is a space where women know best: “It’s important to demonstrate positive role modelling and recognise that good leaders create more leaders.”

Jennah Wootten, Chief Executive, Aktive, acknowledged the panel and their expertise, as well as the value from this event series.

“Our Women in Sport Network events offer a unique opportunity to learn, engage, and share with others in the sector who are working to progress positive outcomes for women and girls in sport and recreation.

“We applaud those supporting this approach because the more we can work alongside each other, the greater the impact will be on the communities we are here to serve and support through sport and physical activity."