Visa launches new platform to tackle trend of New Zealand girls dropping out of sport
- New research reveals age 15 is New Zealand’s peak age for girls dropping out of sport, with 64% of girls saying they don’t currently have a female sports star they look up to
- Previous research1 has demonstrated that participating in sport has many long-term physical, mental and community benefits, but that New Zealand girls are dropping out at higher rates than boys
- The new Year13 & Visa PlayOn platform will highlight the benefits of playing sport and make role models like Team Visa Athletes Claudia Bunge from the New Zealand football team, Olympic shot putter Dame Valerie Adams and Ellie Carpenter from the Australian football team more visible and accessible to encourage young girls to stay in sport
New research conducted by digital youth engagement platform Year13 in partnership with Visa reveals that age 15 is New Zealand’s peak age for girls dropping out of sport with lack of role models, body confidence and conflict with study all playing a role.
The research revealed the importance of visible role models as 64% of young female respondents said they didn’t have a female sports star they looked up to. One in five (21%) girls also say they’ve never (or can’t remember) the last time they saw women’s sport highlights in media. Real and relatable role models were shown to be more important than ever with almost a third (29%) of young girls who do not play sport dropping out due to bodily insecurities.
The importance of family influencing participation in sport and providing exposure to role models was also highlighted. Parents were the second most influential group on the decision to play (behind only “friends”).
However, 71% of girls have no parents who currently play sport and 60% of New Zealand girls say their family rarely or never watch women's sport.
Visa, the Official Payment Technology Partner of FIFA World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™, is committed to empowering and enabling girls and women to reach their full potential. To achieve this, Visa and Year13 have launched Year13 & Visa PlayOn, a new initiative to boost awareness of the benefits of sport on and off the pitch and provide access to role models like young footballers Claudia Bunge and Ellie Carpenter, and Olympic gold medalist shot putter Dame Valerie Adams. The platform will also showcase content and advice from role models with careers in different industries such as music and the arts who will share the role that sport plays in their lives and why it’s important to them.
New Zealand footballer Claudia Bunge commented: “Playing sport – of any kind, at any level – can have such a positive impact on young girls on and off the pitch, from building confidence, learning teamwork, and finding new connections and communities. As a Team Visa athlete, I’m excited to get behind such an important initiative and play my part in inspiring young girls to keep playing sport.”
Visa and Year13’s research also showed that 4 in 10 (42%) girls who stop playing sport cite needing more time to study (the #1 answer) as the reason why they do not play, compared with 33% of boys. Further, only a quarter (24%) of young girls currently believe playing sports helps with skills for work, despite saying it can help with teamwork (92%), resilience (73%) collaboration (75%) discipline (72%) and leadership (73%). Additionally, benefits reported by young girls who did continue to play sport included its ability to clear their mind, lift their mood, give them energy, improve productivity, and help them sleep.
Visa’s Head of Marketing for Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific Natalie Lockwood said:
“We know that playing sports builds transferrable skills that can set girls up for success, including in business, with a study showing 94% of female CEOs have played a sport.2 The story behind the numbers is we need to ensure our girls understand these links and have access to positive role models that encourage them to stick with sport. Through Team Visa we are focused on championing women in sport and now with Year13 & Visa PlayOn, we look forward to supporting the next generation. The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ will help ignite this excitement around women’s sport, and our goal is to be part of a long-term solution that endures long after the tournament has concluded.”
Year13 Co-Founder and Co-CEO Saxon Phipps said: “There is a huge opportunity to reframe the way we talk to young girls about sport, as something that can actually help not just with study, but with relationships, mental health and all sorts of life and professional soft skills and we’re excited to partner with Visa to drive this conversation and grassroots participation by showcasing these inspiring role models on the Year13 & Visa PlayOn platform. Through this initiative, we’re encouraging parents and schools to speak with their children and students about staying in sport in their final years of school and beyond, instead of giving it up when most do by 15.”
1 Sports NZ Young Women Profile 2021
2 EY, “Why a Female Athlete Should Be Your Next Leader”, September 2020
Year13 is a digital enterprise and ed-tech that supports young people as they navigate the challenges that come with growing up, with a focus on upgrading the school to work transition and supporting young people’s wellbeing. Year13 & Visa PlayOn will be hosted on Year13 digital and social platforms.
About Visa Inc.
Visa (NYSE: V) is a world leader in digital payments, facilitating transactions between consumers, merchants, financial institutions and government entities across more than 200 countries and territories. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, convenient, reliable and secure payments network, enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. We believe that economies that include everyone everywhere, uplift everyone everywhere and see access as foundational to the future of money movement. Learn more at Visa.com.
About the Research
The Visa commissioned research, conducted by Year13, surveyed 1250 female and male New Zealand respondents aged 13-23. The research was conducted online in April 2023.