Minerva Network chairman and co-founder Christine McLoughlin with a group of prominent Australian female sports stars in Sydney.

august 23 2018

MEDIA ALERT: Leading Australian Business Identity Christine McLoughlin says NSW is Leading the way in Creating Pathways for Women in Sport

“We stand proudly behind our record in NSW and Australia, with strong programs in place to create pathways and opportunities for women in sport and for developing our venues into vibrant hubs of activity for our communities,” Ms McLoughlin said.

“The Australia v New Zealand double-header in Sydney (18 August) was a wonderful success with the Wallaroos and Black Ferns playing in front of the largest crowd ever recorded for a women’s rugby international (28,846).

“Rugby Australia is rightly being congratulated for taking the lead and presenting an exciting double-header on Bledisloe Cup day.”

Ms McLoughlin, as a passionate advocate of women in sport, said she had enjoyed meeting members of the Black Ferns women’s team at ANZ Stadium last Saturday and that Black Ferns and Wallaroos players and officials she had spoken to were glowing in their praise of the event.

Ms McLoughlin said claims that Wallaroos and Black Ferns players were treated with any less respect than the men in last Saturday’s Australia v New Zealand rugby double-header were mischievous and likely to be politically motivated.

“The truth is, other nations have been left in our wake when it comes to supporting and creating pathways for women in sport, and it appears this has led to some jealousy . . .  because the Wallaroos and Black Ferns were treated with the utmost respect at ANZ Stadium,” she said.

Australia and New Zealand are the front-running nations to host the 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup and Ms McLoughlin said the strong support for women’s sport in Australia made it a standout candidate. 

“Australians everywhere are getting behind Rugby Australia in supporting our bid for the 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup and we look forward to the opportunity to host so many incredible athletes from around the world,” Ms McLoughlin said.

Above: Venues NSW Chairman Christine McLoughlin welcomes the Black Ferns to Sydney’s ANZ Stadium on Saturday 18 August.

Ms McLoughlin, a former Telstra Business Woman of the Year and an experienced company director with a passion for sport and community engagement, has since June 2016 been chairman of Venues NSW, the government agency that oversees Sydney’s 83,000-seat ANZ Stadium and other NSW venues.

She said the successful women’s rugby international at ANZ Stadium had followed hot on the heels of the hugely popular State of Origin women’s rugby league game in Sydney, record attendances for Matildas games in Sydney and Newcastle, and success in women’s rugby 7s, international cricket and WAFL.

“Our Venues NSW Board includes three of the country’s most successful business women and we are committed as a Board to the continued success of women’s sport in this country,” she said.

“There were 28,846 people at ANZ Stadium on Saturday to witness a very competitive women’s rugby international game played in great spirit, and we recently welcomed a record 16,829 fans at Newcastle’s McDonald Jones Stadium to see our Westfield Matildas play Brazil in an international football game. “

Ms McLoughlin is also chairman and co-founder of the Minerva Network, an organisation set up specifically to support Australia’s rising female athletes, helping them leverage their success in and out of the sporting arenas.

“We now have professional Australian women mentoring Australian female athletes and this is really resonating with our athletes, so the future is very bright for our women in sport,” Ms McLoughlin said.

“I spoke with some of the Black Ferns players last Saturday about how the Minerva Network functions and why such an initiative would work just as effectively in New Zealand and other countries.

“The Australian women’s cricket team, the Australian women’s rugby 7s team, the Australian Diamonds netball team and the Matildas are extraordinary examples of Australian sports women at the top of their game . . . and we in business are now standing behind them to ensure their success.”