The Embassies of New Zealand and Australia have joined forces with LaLiga to hold a workshop at the ESC LaLiga & NBA Centre to provide 25 girls from the Community of Madrid with a unique venue for training, exchange of experiences, and interaction with leading women in the world of sport.
The day included a welcome breakfast after which the Ambassador of Australia, Hon. Sophia McIntyre, and the Ambassador of New Zealand, Hon. Tara Morton, were joined by leading sportswomen as motivational speakers for the young ladies. Afterwards, they took to the pitch with a LaLiga coach, where they put their skills and passion for football on display. They also had the opportunity to learn about a special element of New Zealand culture through a haka (Maori war dance) workshop, led by New Zealander Gensen Palmer.
The 25 participants won a place at this event after winning a design competition launched by the two embassies in April for girls aged 9 to 12 from the Community of Madrid. The competition, which was supported by the Regional Ministry of Education, invited entrants to submit their designs inspired by the values of sport and equality, while also including characteristic elements from both countries. Regardless of the participants’ level of football, the 25 best designs were chosen by the embassies on the basis of criteria such as creativity, originality and how they reflected values such as equality, inclusion and diversity.
“New Zealand strongly supports the participation of women and girls, whether it be in the boardroom, in politics or in the sporting arena. Our aim, through this event, was to create a space for girls to thrive, grow and celebrate the values of football, and we were delighted to share New Zealand’s love of sport with a new generation of female leaders in Madrid,” explained the Ambassador of New Zealand, the Hon. Tara Morton.
“The last few years have seen a huge increase in the popularity of football and other sports among women, but there is still a long way to go to reach the same level of support and commitment as exists for sport among men. Being here is a way of contributing to the promotion of female role models and celebrating the sporting successes of women who encourage girls to take up sport and aim high,” said the Ambassador of Australia, the Hon. Sophia McIntyre.
With this initiative, and with Australia and New Zealand in the spotlight in two months time, both embassies together with LaLiga showed their firm commitment to promote women’s football, reduce the gap in the support and promotion of women and girls in sport, end the unequal access to sports facilities and training that often leads to the early abandonment of sporting activity and, ultimately, ensure that all women can pursue their passion for sport without any obstacles in the way.