Sarah Spicer
Published on

With the recent celebrations of International Women’s Day on 8 March, and the introduction of the Incorporated Societies Act 2022, it is an opportune time to reflect on the diversity of your organisation and how you can take steps through governance to provide opportunities for females in your organisation.

Gender diversity is not only important to have among your members and participants but within leadership positions such as on committees or boards. A gender-diverse board can show “better decision making, better organisational resilience, and better performance”.   New Zealand Rugby increased their board diversity in 2020, viewing “diversity in a wider sense than just gender, but also … creating opportunities for women at all levels of our game including governance”.

Regulating gender diversity within your organisation:

Clubs should consider the best way of self-regulating gender diversity within their organisation.

Diversity may be incorporated in your constitution or rules or outlined in policies.  You could set measurable targets and timeframes in order to meet goals for improving gender diversity. The mechanisms used to assess gender diversity will be different for each organisation but should be clearly identifiable. You will also need to put accountability measures in place to be able to monitor progress and show where you are meeting targets.   For example, as you may well be aware, Sport New Zealand put in place a target to achieve a minimum requirement of 40% self-identified females on their partners’ boards by December 2021.   This requirement is now a formal condition of their investment in their partners and will continue to be monitored by Sport NZ. 

Mentorship, training opportunities, and nominations:

Clubs offering mentorship and training opportunities have better chances of attracting and retaining talented individuals within their sport.

You could reflect on what mentorship or training opportunities you offer for individuals to reach leadership roles such as coach, manager, and in governance.  Mentorship programs provide women with insight into the skills and expectations required to reach higher positions within your organisation.

It is important for your organisation, despite its size, to put in place a system that allows for gender diversity, and diversity in general, in your leadership structures.

Please get in touch with us to discuss how to best ensure that your club has governance mechanisms in place to increase diversity.  The new Incorporated Societies Act 2022 provides a great opportunity to look at this.  Our next article will focus on the changes needed to your constitutions and rules to make them compliant with the new Act – something all clubs that are incorporated societies will need to act on.


  [1]  Global Women | Why is Diversity on Boards Important?

  [2]  New Zealand Rugby diversifies Board at 2020 Annual General Meeting | NZ Rugby

  [3]  Board gender diversity | Sport New Zealand - Ihi Aotearoa (

Disclaimer: The information contained here is of a general nature and should be used as a guide only. Any reference to law is to New Zealand law and legislation. We recommend before acting on it, you consult your accountant or tax adviser.