'Less than zero' chance of female being appointed NZ Rugby CEO, says Women in Sport boss

Sunday Sport 09/12/2018
Tew has been CEO of NZ Rugby since 2007. Photo: Getty.

There's a "less than zero" chance of a woman stepping into the role of CEO at NZ Rugby.

That's the opinion of Women in Sport Aotearoa CEO, Rachel Froggatt.

Froggat believes that the appointment of a female at the top of rugby's governing body would signal the most impactful commitment to women in sport.

There have been suggestions that current CEO Steve Tew may step aside after next year's Rugby World Cup, but Froggatt was emphatic regarding the likelihood of his replacement being a woman.

"Less than zero," Froggatt told Jim Kayes and Andrew Gourdie on RadioLIVE's Sunday Sport. "That's absolutely no shot.

"I just don’t know that the NZ sporting system is ready for that to actually happen at the moment. If you think about the unconscious bias that happens across the sector."

She was quick to offer up one potential candidate in Dr Farah Palmer, a former Black Ferns star who's now an NZ Rugby board member.

"The achievements she's made on the governing board the last few years are just incredible, and she's lead the bid for the women's Rugby World Cup to come to New Zealand.

"But I just don’t know that we're moving fast enough that in less than 12 months time that that kind of thinking will be in place yet."

The most significant barrier to a woman's pathway to such a role lies in the attitude of what Froggatt referred to as the "old guard".

"Since their integrity review a couple years ago, NZ Rugby is making incredible steps forward in terms of the changing representation.

"But until some of that old guard begins to move on and those changes begin to happen behind the scenes, where males with open minds come through, where women are coming through, those changes won't be able to happen at the very, very top end."

The effect of having a woman at the top of NZ Rugby would be immeasurable in terms of the example it set to other sports, Foggertt added.

"I'd absolutely love to see a woman step into the position of CEO and I'll have Steve up about that next time I see him – how are you actually promoting the interest of women coming through to potentially pitch for this position.

"If rugby could achieve that can you imagine the type of impact that would have on other sports in NZ?"

Listen to the full interview above.

Sunday Sport with Andrew Gourdie and Jim Kayes, 2pm - 6pm every Sunday afternoon on RadioLIVE, and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.