Dubai [UAE], March 8 (ANI): For a nation preparing to host three major world cups and a massive global conference on gender equality in sport, it's hard to think of a more fitting image to mark UN International Women's Day than Kendra Cocksedge, Katie Bowen and Sophie Devine standing shoulder to shoulder atop Eden Park's towering stadium roof, peering down to the fabled playing surface and pondering what the sporting gods will grant them when their big days arrive.
The trio teamed up to help promote what promises to be a remarkable period for female athletes.
Bowen, a 59-cap Football Fern, Cocksedge, the Black Ferns vice-captain, and Devine, the power-hitting skipper of the White Ferns teamed up for a media event in Auckland to help promote what promises to be a remarkable period for female athletes.
Along with the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup (March-April 2022), Fifa Women's World Cup (July-August 2023), and Rugby World Cup 2021, New Zealand will also welcome the world's largest gathering of experts on gender equality in sport and physical activity to the 8th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport in May 2022.
Bowen, who attended the event before heading to the United States to link with her club Kansas City ahead of the 2021 National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) season in the United States, said: "It's going to be massive for the nation. I think that it's going to really help the development of the youth, and we hope to inspire not only young females but also young boys."
Bowen's Football Ferns will be out to make history in 2023 when the eyes of the world will be on New Zealand and co-hosts Australia as they stage the 32-nation global sporting spectacular.
New Zealand women's cricket team captain Sophie Devine has been in the thick of the sporting action in recent weeks after losing the ODI and T20I series against England at home.
Devine, who conquered her fear of heights to join Bowen and Cocksedge at the top of Eden Park, said: "It's unbelievable to be a female athlete at this time. To have three women's world cups here in New Zealand over the next three years is just awesome so please get along and support these fantastic athletes."
White Ferns will next take on Australia in a T20I series beginning March 28. Both England and Australia will return to New Zealand shores in 2022, having already booked their spots at the eight-nation Cricket World Cup.
It was announced last week that Rugby World Cup 2021 would likely be postponed to the end of 2022, and while the delay was disappointing for Black Ferns veteran Cocksedge, the anticipation still remains.
"I'm still highly motivated that there is a World Cup on home turf and at the end of the day borders will hopefully be open and we will be able to get lots of support from family and friends and people outside of the country as well," she said.
May 2022 will also see around 1000 international participants travel to New Zealand to attend the 8th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport.
The event is the largest gathering of experts in gender equality in sport and physical activity in the world. It has been held every four years since 1994. For the first time in its 25-year history, it will be staged as both a physical event LIVE in Auckland and online as a digital event in parallel.
Rachel Froggatt, CEO of Women in Sport Aotearoa -- host to the 8th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport -- said: "As a nation, we are about to witness a period of extraordinary social change for women and girls. The world's best female athletes and the world's best strategic thinkers in sport and physical activity are getting ready to travel to Aotearoa, to showcase their skills and talent across four major events. Together, these events will forever transform the visibility of women's sport, but also significantly increase the value of sport and physical activity for women and girls at all levels of the system." (ANI)