Hollywood screen creative, activist and football enthusiast Natalie Portman will join former Prime Minister Dame Jacinda Ardern, FIFA General Secretary Fatma Samoura, and Black Ferns star Ruby Tui for EQUALIZE: The State of Play, a discussion on equity for women at Auckland’s Aotea Centre on August 14.
The event is the finale of a nationwide free entry EQUALIZE speaker series celebrating women in sport, business, culture and society. The series is happening across Aotearoa New Zealand during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™ in July and August.
Portman recently co-founded Los Angeles women’s football club Angel City Football Club, which was inspired by her dream to change women’s sport, starting with making women’s football as valued as men’s football throughout the world.
Ruby Tui says she is honoured to join other inspirational women for this event and looks forward to contributing to the equity conversation.
“As a female rugby player, I have seen a lot of doubt from others just because we are women. But I believe our job is to show the doubters that we aren’t the inconvenience; we are the opportunity.
“I want to show young women that despite the doubters, us wāhine in the sports sector won’t give up. We’re determined to create solutions and a better world for all girls and women which in turn means a better world for all. We will continue to break stereotypes, speak out against inequality and ensure change,” says Tui.
Portman, Ardern, Samoura and Tui join an incredible line up of 50 remarkable women from New Zealand and around the world speaking at EQUALIZE events.
The stellar line-up includes sporting legends Dame Valerie Adams, 2022 World Rugby Player of the Year Ruahei Demant and Paralympian Holly Robinson; Becca Roux the Executive Director for the US Women’s National Soccer Team Player Association and a driving force behind the pay equity deal for US female footballers; Angel City FC President Julie Uhrman; Oscar-nominated producer and award-winning filmmaker Chelsea Winstanley; New Zealand creatives Michele A’Court, Georgia Lines, Robinson and Bic Runga; entrepreneur Theresa Gattung; three-hatted chef Monique Fiso; and esteemed Washington Post journalist Anna Fifield.
The free-entry equity discussion series will take place at the FIFA Fan Festival™ in the four host cities. The events kick off in Hamilton on July 21, followed by Dunedin on July 23, Wellington on July 26 and Auckland on August 1, before the EQUALIZE: The State of Play finale event at the Aotea Centre on August 14.
New Zealand has many firsts to be proud of when it comes to equality for women – we were the first country in the world where women won the right to vote; the first to have our three top political positions simultaneously held by women; and the first to achieve a 50/50 split of men and women in cabinet.
We do however still have a long way to go. In 2022, research showed on average, men earn 9.2% more than women. When it comes to sports, there is a consistent decline in participation as women get older – from age 15, the number of physical activities a young woman participates in drops by 29%, compared to 18% for young men.
EQUALIZE has been designed and produced by the New Zealand Story Group to showcase New Zealand’s role in driving gender equity globally.
All EQUALIZE events are free of charge and open to everyone. No tickets are required, with the exception of the August 14 event for which a limited-number of free tickets can be secured in three releases from ticketmaster.co.nz Phase one tickets are available from 9am Wednesday 5 July.
EQUALIZE has been made possible thanks to funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment as part of its work to raise the profile of women and girls in sport and wider society off the back of co-hosting of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™.