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International Women’s Day

MEDIA RELEASE: On International Women’s Day an increasing number of New Zealanders support the protection of women’s categories in sport


March 8th 2023

A recent independent poll has shown a collapse in support for male athletes who self-identify as women competing in women’s sport with only 16% of those surveyed supportive in February 2023, down from 27% in February 2022. Conversely, opposition has continued to strengthen with 67% of New Zealanders polled in February 2023 opposed, compared to 55% in February 2022.


The two independent polls, taken a year apart by Curia Research, were commissioned by Save Women’s Sport Australasia (SWSA) following Sport New Zealand’s persistent and continued refusal to survey either female athletes or New Zealanders on their views about the inclusion of male transgender athletes in women’s sport, despite spending millions in the past four years on other surveys.


“On this International Women’s Day we call on New Zealand sporting organisations to implement clear policies to protect the fairness, safety, and opportunities of women and girls in sport,” says Candice Riley, former New Zealand elite rower and endurance athlete. “This is now critical as examples of male athletes displacing women from their own categories, podium placings, or prize money both in New Zealand and internationally become more frequent.”


“SWSA supports the inclusion of transgender athletes in sport but it should not be at the expense of the safety, fairness, and integrity of the female category,” says Ro Edge, co-spokeswoman. “It is clear that as New Zealanders see more examples of this happening, the more opposed they become, and the more disconnected Sport NZ and other sporting organisations who allow this are from their volunteers, supporters, and communities.”

“This International Women’s Day it’s time for sporting organisations to be brave and acknowledge that the inclusion of any male, regardless of how they self-identify, in women’s sport leads to the exclusion of women from their own sporting category, deprives them of their rightful recognition, and is now denying some prize money they have rightly earned. Female athletes and advocates spent decades fighting for a fair go. It’s the Kiwi way. This is not fair and New Zealanders know it.”


Curia Poll February 2023
Curia Poll February 2023























Additional 2023 Polling Information


POLL DATES: Thursday 2 to Thursday 9 February 2023.

TARGET POPULATION: Eligible New Zealand voters.

SAMPLE SIZE: 1,000 respondents agreed to participate – 800 via phone and 200 via online panel.


SAMPLE ERROR: Based on this sample of 1,000 respondents, the maximum sampling error (for a result of 50%) is +/- 3.1%, at the 95% confidence level.

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