Athletes Meet In PNG For First Pacific Women's Sports Leadership Program

Program promotes leadership skills through sports to tackle important genders concersn

By Merolyn Ten

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, ) – Twenty women representing 13 different sporting organisations in the Pacific have met for a first ever Pacific Women’s Sports Leadership Program in Port Moresby.

The first time program has brought together women leaders from across the sports sector from Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Nauru, Samoa, Vanuatu and Tonga.

"These women have come together to develop their leadership skills through sport and promote women to move into leadership roles to battle women issues such as gender-based violence, gender norms and encourage equality," said international cricket council’s Jane Livesey.

Ms Livesey said 50 per cent of the population in the Pacific region are women, yet there is low women political representatives and women leaders. "Despite this program being the first of its kind in the Pacific for women in sport it will continue in years to come," Ms Livesey said.

For Netball Australia’s international development manager Olivia Philpott said the program plays an integral part in providing positive female role models in the Pacific region. "It is important for us to see more women moving into leadership roles, to improve diversity in decision-making, investment in targeted programs for women’s sport, health and wellbeing, and to provide role models for young girls.

"We wanted to expand the kind of development opportunities and networks that we can access in Australia to the women that we work with through our roles in sport for development in the Pacific," she said. Cricket Australia, Netball Australia and the International Cricket Council, have joined forces to offer this exciting leadership opportunity for their female counterparts throughout the Pacific Islands.

The Pacific Women’s Sports Leadership Program will end tomorrow at the Holiday Inn.

PNG representatives were Bertha Bade, Cathy Neap, Grace Michael and Rutha-Meu Omenefa (Rugby League), Lua Rikis (Netball), Susan Komang (Cricket), and Sulueti Tarasomo (Sports Foundation), Fiji representatives were Lavenia Yalovi, (Soccer), Maryann Moss (Athletes Commission), Mherina Ahmed (Gymnastics) and Siteri Tadrau (AFL), Samoa representatives were Filoi Eneliko (Rugby Union), Lepa Fa’aiuaso (Rugby League), Nynette Sass (Sailing) and Ruta Schwalger (Netball), representatives from Tonga were Peti Tupouniua (Badminton) and Salote Sisifa (Netball) and Brenda Ribauw an athletics from Nauru and Vanuatu Volleyball star Sarai Stephens.

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