A common trend among hosts of women’s international sporting events is to tout the opportunity to positively impact women’s and girls’ sporting and physical activity practices. Yet, many scholars have shown that such ‘trickle down’ effects from the event to society are seldom realised. Nonetheless, organisers continue in their attempts to ‘leverage’ large-scale sporting events to produce a range of positive impacts. Here, we use the extraordinary context of Aotearoa New Zealand hosting the Women’s Cricket, Rugby, and Football World Cups in 2022 and 2023 to consider the potential prospects, pitfalls, and challenges involved in attempting to leverage such events to improve societal and sporting opportunities for women and girls. More specifically, we explore the proposed leveraging strategies for the tournaments and examine how such initiatives align with the New Zealand Government’s ‘Strategy for Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation’ (WGS). Drawing upon strategy, planning and policy documents, press releases, and media coverage, we adopt a critical discourse analysis approach to understand how current strategies of organisers, national sports organisations, and governing bodies align with the three main ‘pillars’ of the WGS (leadership, participation, and visibility). Through our analysis we present empirical and theoretical challenges (and opportunities) faced by the tournament stakeholders. We end with a critical analysis of the challenges and possibilities hosting three world cups can have on enacting meaningful and important change for women and girls’ sport in Aotearoa.
|Number of pages||19|
|Journal||International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics|
|Early online date||29 Aug 2022|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 29 Aug 2022|
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