From tennis champions to dance craze inventors, Scratched celebrates New Zealand sporting heroes who never got their due – but whose legacies deserve to be in lights. This month, Barbara Cox, the matriarch of New Zealand football.
New Zealand’s first women’s football team wasn’t formed until 1975. Barbara Cox was the captain, and led the team’s fundraising efforts which included selling kisses at the local bar for 20 cents.
Born in 1947, Cox grew up learning that a woman’s role was to cook and clean and take care of her husband. So when her husband signed her up to a local football team in 1973, Cox’s life changed. With help from a few male administrators, and not much help from anyone else, Cox and her team mates worked to a top four world ranking, beating the US on the way. Cox represented New Zealand for over a decade, and went on to become the first woman to receive the top New Zealand football coaching certificate.
New Zealand has come a long way in its treatment of female athletes, but only thanks to those who refused to put up with double standards long ago. Barbara Cox is one of them and her work isn’t done.
Scratched is made with the support of NZ On Air.
Join The Spinoff Members for as little as $1 to help us continue our work and cover the stories that matter. Get a free Toby Morris-designed tea towel when you contribute $80 or more over a year.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.