Women coaches in Aotearoa New Zealand

Inspiration and challenges


  • For the love of the sport
  • The development and progress of athletes
  • To inspire young people


Respondents ranked their top preferences for what they believe are the most important for each heading


  • Visibility of skilled and experienced women coaches
  • Increased interest in women’s sport in community/media
  • Investment in coach development programmes targeted at women
  • Government focus on girls and women in sport


I love helping young females learn and develop through sport.

Survey respondent


I love giving back to the sport that gave me so much. I find it very rewarding developing young people to be the best they can be.

Survey respondent


  • Lack of paid coaching positions
  • Lack of practical, hands on coaching, learning opportunities
  • Access to high quality coach development programmes
  • The need for specific coaching qualification


Challenges for women coaches: An ecological view

There are multiple and intersecting factors that influence how female coaches’ engage with and experience their sport. These range from personal factors and beliefs through to socio-cultural norms and expectations. The survey used an ecological model to explore and understand the experience of female coaches from the perspective of four levels: personal; interpersonal; organisation; and socio­cultural.

Source: LaVoi, N. M., & Dutove, J. K. (2012). Barriers and supports for female coaches: An ecological model. Sports Coaching Review, 1(1), 17-37.

Respondents ranked their top preferences for what they believe ore the most important for each heading



  • Lack of acceptance of women coaches
  • Greater scrutiny of women coaches
  • Negative stereotypes of female coaches


The biggest barrier to women is opportunity – that is, men with few or no coaching qualifications or experience and very out of date playing experience and a focus on outcomes over development are consistently preferred over female coaches.

Survey respondent



  • Gender bias in selection/recruitment process
  • Lack of support systems for women coaches
  • Time demands of role
  • Lack of opportunity to progress to higher coaching positions


In my area the high performance jobs are given to the “boys club”. There is no recruitment process or pathway what so ever.

Survey respondent



  • Ongoing old boys club culture
  • Work-life balance
  • Family commitments


There needs to be a better understanding from NSOs about the role of the woman in the home and therefore tailor roles and work conditions to both support and enable female coaches to be successful in their roles that may look different to their male counterparts.

Survey respondent


  • Stress or burn out
  • Feeling of isolation
  • Lack of confidence in personal ability