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By Caitlin Timmer-Arends, Curator, Our Health Journeys eMuseum

Hundreds of thousands of people around the country take to the sports field, court, pool, velodrome, and many other arenas every week to participate in their chosen sport. However, these spaces were not always welcoming to women.

Today, though netball remains ever popular with female players, women remain under-represented in many sports that have historically been played by men. Through societal mechanisms (including restrictive clothing) it has been a struggle for women to participate in, or be accepted into, the traditional sporting arenas of men.

However, national success and popularity of women’s sporting events has seen a rise in participation as well as recognition of the place of women in these spaces. The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup is a great recent example of this.

Museums across the country hold collections relating to women in sport. This kete | set highlights some of the photographs of women in sport across collections in Aotearoa.

Black and white photograph of a group of women and bicycles standing outside a building in Coromandel town. Women are wearing full length black skirts, white tops and hats.
Open of cycling season 1896. Image courtesy of Coromandel School of Mines and Historic Museum.


Team sports

Solo images

Spectator sports

This photo exhibition was originally published on Our Health Journeys and is shared on Kōtuia with permission.