During the ceremony held at the Olympic Museum, Lausanne (Switzerland) yesterday, the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) made history when it became the first National Olympic Committee (NOC) to be named World Winner of 2015 IOC Women in Sport Trophy. The trophy reflects efforts of the national Olympic Committees in promoting women in sport.
The NZOC was honored for the long lasting efforts in promoting gender equality that have resulted in strong female representation on its Board, within its senior management and on its Olympic teams. The NZOC has long been the front facing Olympic Committee which has professed that women have a prominent role in sport, on and off the field of play. Increasing the number of women representing New Zealand at the highest platform events and in decision-making and leadership positions has been a way, not only within the NOC, but also in other national, regional sports organizations.
Delighted of the role of her country in creating gender balance Kereyn Smith, Secretary General of the NZOC, said “We know that, through sport, women can both build and demonstrate the same qualities that also make great leaders – we have been working hard to strengthen and promote this link.”
Further, she added “We believe gender balance leads to better decision-making, better organisations and ultimately a better society.”
Other categories included Continental Winners which had Cathy Freeman winning it for Oceania (for her outstanding work making a difference to young Australians through the Cathy Freeman Foundation and supporting other community and charitable activities), Mervat Hassan for Africa, Sara Rosario for Americas, Sheikha Hayat Bint Abdulaziz Al-Khalifa for Asia, and Stavroula Kozompoli for Europe.
The Chairperson of IOC Women in Sport Commission, Lydia Nsekera, in her congratulatory message, said: “We have winners from all continents but they all have something in common. They all want to make the world a better place through sports. On and off the field of play they are working together to make sure that through sports women can play an important role. We still have a long road to travel. But working together we will get there. ”
The day also marked the 20th anniversary of the IOC Women in Sport Commission. Over this period, the Commission has been a catalyst in fostering gender equality and the strengthening of women’s participation in, and through, sport. Reckoning the efforts brought in by the commission, IOC President Thomas Bach praised it and said gender equality went beyond being simply a “women’s issue.” “Women have always been truly inspirational role models. Sport is a powerful platform for gender equality to empower women and girls. This is one of the reasons why in Olympic Agenda 2020 we are underscoring the call for stronger gender equality.” He added: “Gender equality is part of good governance in any organization whether an International Federation, a National Olympic Committee or in the IOC itself.”