An equal Oceania: Breaking Down the Barriers


Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) is committed to empowering women and girls in our region through football.

By capitalising on the momentum created by Australia and New Zealand hosting the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and by working with partners, such as the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), OFC is looking to advance the positive and long-lasting impact of the Cup tournament on gender equality — starting with the Gender Equality Playbook.

The Gender Equality Playbook is the first project in OFC’s Pacific Legacy 2023 Programme. It is a resource designed to provide evidence-based recommendations for football, and other sports in the region, to achieve gender equality on and off the pitch.

“Aotearoa New Zealand has an important part to play in supporting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in the Pacific, including through sports,” said Ambassador for Gender Equality (Pacific)/Tuia Tangata, Lousia Wall. 

“We are proud to be partnering with OFC on the Pacific Legacy 2023 Programme, and specifically, on the development and delivery of the Gender Equality Playbook.

“This initiative aligns with our commitment to increasing sports leadership, decision making, participation, and opportunities for women and girls across Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa,” Ambassador Wall said.

There have been significant increases in women’s football participation, coaching and administration in the Pacific over the last few years, both at youth and high-performance levels. However, in order to sustain this growth in participation and performance, OFC is looking to further understand the unique lived experiences of women and girls within sport throughout the region.

“There is a vast amount of untapped potential and opportunity across the Pacific and through the Gender Equality Playbook, practical steps and solutions will be provided to shift the narrative and change the game for girls and women across all sports in the Pacific,” said OFC Head of Women’s Football, Emma Evans.

The Gender Equality Playbook will form the foundation of OFC’s work going forward and will be activated at up-coming events around the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup tournament, as well as at the International Working Group (IWG) World Conference on Women & Sport, being held in New Zealand, in November.

“The MFAT-supported Just Play programme has reached over 400,000 children since 2009, and we are excited to have MFAT on board to support this activity and to leverage the hosting of WWC 2023 in our region, too,” OFC Head of Social Responsibility, Michael Armstrong, said.

“It is important that we learn from international best practice, and adapt for regional and local contexts; something the Gender Equality Playbook helps us do.”

The Gender Equality Playbook explores the steps we can take collectively to work towards gender equality across participation, coaching, leadership, media and visibility, policy, and ending violence against women and girls.

It is envisaged it will not only be a resource for football, but for all sports in the Pacific; informing the design and development of specific programmes, communication and educational elements delivered by OFC and others to support the growth of sport, and to achieve a future that is safe, equal and accessible for everyone.

For further information, contact Michael Armstrong, Head of Social Responsibility, OFC ( p +64 21 567 605). 

ABOUT JUST PLAY: The Just Play Programme is delivered in 11 Pacific Island countries and India, with the generous support of the Australian and New Zealand Governments, Football Federation Australia and the UEFA Foundation for Children.

ABOUT THE IWG: Established in 1994, the IWG advocates and runs programmes globally year-round. It developed and remains the guardian of the Brighton plus Helsinki 2014 Declaration, which now has the commitment of nearly 600 signatories worldwide. Every four years it stages the IWG World Conference on Women & Sport. In September 2021, it launched a world first Insight Hub — an interactive collection of research, case studies, toolkits and news contributed from all over the world.

The eighth IWG World Conference on Women & Sport is being offered as both a virtual and a hybrid in-person and virtual experience. It will take place in Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand and online, between 14 and 17 November 2022.


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