The discussion on equity in sport will take place during the women’s football World Cup in August. Photo / Supplied

Hollywood actor Natalie Portman is set to join Rugby sensation Ruby Tui, former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and FIFA General Secretary Fatma Samoura for a forum on wāhine in sports, business, culture, and society during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™ in July and August.

‘EQUALIZE: The State of Play’ is discussion on gender equity for wāhine, taking place at Auckland’s Aotea Centre on August 14.

The event marks the conclusion of a nationwide tour for the series.

Black Ferns star. Tui, expressed her passion for participating in the event alongside other inspirational women, especially as it relates to the equity kōrero.

“As a female rugby player, I have seen a lot of doubt from others just because we are women. But I believe our job is to show the doubters that we aren’t the inconvenience; we are the opportunity,” says Tui.

“I want to show young women that despite the doubters, us wāhine in the sports sector won’t give up. We’re determined to create solutions and a better world for all girls and women which in turn means a better world for all.

“We will continue to break stereotypes, speak out against inequality and ensure change.” Tui said.

Portman, recently co-founded the Angel City Football Club in Los Angeles, saying she aims to change the perception of women’s sports globally and ensure equal value for women’s football as compared to men’s football.

Ardern, Portman, Samoura, and Tui are joining a 50-strong line-up of women from New Zealand and around the world speaking at EQUALIZE.

Sporting legends Dame Valerie Adams, 2022 World Rugby Player of the Year Ruahei Demant, and Paralympian Holly Robinson, as well as influential figures such as Becca Roux, Julie Uhrman, Chelsea Winstanley, and Anna Fifield are also speaking.

The free-entry equity discussion series will be held at the FIFA Fan Festival™ in the four host cities, commencing in Hamilton on July 21, followed by events in Dunedin, Wellington, and concluding in Auckland on August 1.

The EQUALIZE: The State of Play finale event will take place at the Aotea Centre on August 14.

Research conducted in 2022 shows men, on average, earn 9.2% more than women, and there is a consistent decline in women’s sports participation as they get older.

Organizers say EQUALIZE aims to highlight New Zealand’s role in driving global gender equity, and inspire current and future generations to effect positive change.

“The co-hosting of one of the world’s biggest sporting events in New Zealand provides the perfect opportunity to engage people with one of the most important issues of our time.” Director of Marketing and Communications at New Zealand Story Group (NZSG) Amy Knightley says.

NZSG is a government agency charged with promoting the international brand of Aotearoa.

“EQUALIZE will celebrate wāhine toa at home and globally, who are breaking barriers and helping level the playing field for future generations.

Tickets for the EQUALIZE: The State of Play finale event can be secured in three releases through, with phase one tickets available from 9 am on July 5.

Public Interest Journalism, funded through NZ On Air