Survey shows New Zealand’s sport clubs are surviving while female inclusion still a work in progress

Despite the impact of Coronavirus, New Zealand’s sport clubs appear to be in a surprisingly strong position financially according to the latest National Sport Club Survey (NSCS), conducted on behalf of the New Zealand Amateur Sport Association (NZASA).

The newly released survey has found that just 5.1% of sport clubs report losing money in 2021 – fewer than 2020 (11%) and similar to what was reported in 2019 and 2018.

The NSCS also found that the average membership of a sport club in New Zealand also rebounded in 2021 with clubs reporting an average of 200 members, which is where that metric was in 2018, with a decrease having been observed in 2019 (190) and 2020 (175).

Encouraged by the results NZASA Chairman, Gordon Noble-Campbell, stated “sport clubs are essential to the well-being of many New Zealanders.

“At a time when many families and communities are experiencing COVID-related challenges, clubs are continuing to play a key role in connecting communities, even when opportunities to actively participate have been limited for many.”

In terms of boar make up, the NSCS reported that the percentage of those under age 30 on a sport club board or committee was just 8%, which has been consistent for the past three years.

In both 2019 and 2020, the percentage of female board and committee members in New Zealand’s sport clubs was steady at 44%. In 2021, that has risen to 49% which NZASA sees is a indication of greater gender parity in the leadership of sport clubs.

However, just 27% of clubs report that their board or committee is chaired by a female while, overall, women comprise less than one third of coaches (21%), administrators (30%), managers (28%) and officials (23%) in New Zealand’s sport clubs.

Dr Mel Johnston, NSCS co-lead from the Sport Performance Institute New Zealand at Auckland University of Technology (AUT SPRINZ), commented that she would like to see more female coaches and managers in clubs, but is heartened by near overall gender parity in club governance.

Dr Johnston stated “we know that when women are making decisions, other women benefit.”

On this topic, respondents to the survey were asked if their club does anything to specifically engage female participants and 41% reported that they did. When asked to expand, those making that effort reported that dedicated female club committees, purposefully welcoming women to the club, female-only online platforms, childcare and female mentors were effective.

The survey also focused on the extent to which sport clubs are female friendly. Respondents strongly agreed that coaches and equipment were equally available for women, however clubs could make improvements such as improving lighting in outdoor areas and ensuring there are suitable changing facilities for women.

An annual snapshot of the management and operation of sport clubs, the NSCS was conceived as a complement to the myriad of available sport sector data by focusing on clubs as organisational entities and the hub of many communities across New Zealand.

Open from 19th August to 3rd September, around 1,200 sport clubs engaged with the 2021 survey, across 80 sports and all 16 regions of New Zealand.

Several important metrics are being tracked year-on-year relating to club membership, governance and finances while a comprehensive set of survey items related to women and girls in sport clubs were included this year.

Being undertake for the fourth year, the NSCS is undertaken as a collaboration between the NZASA and AUT SPRINZ.

Click here for more information on the NZASA website.

Main image courtesy of Aktive Auckland.

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