Sport Ireland to appoint new full-time Women in Sport Lead position

New Women in Sport Policy - further boosted by an increased annual fund of €2 million

Sport Ireland today launched a new Women in Sport Policy with Grainne Walsh (Boxing), Michaela Walsh (Boxing), Carey May (former Irish Marathon Olympian), Annalise Murphy (Sailing) and Clare Ryan (Swim Ireland) all in attendance. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Sport Ireland today launched a new Women in Sport Policy with Grainne Walsh (Boxing), Michaela Walsh (Boxing), Carey May (former Irish Marathon Olympian), Annalise Murphy (Sailing) and Clare Ryan (Swim Ireland) all in attendance. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

A permanent Women in Sport Lead and the rewarding of sporting bodies who achieve greater gender diversity at board level are the main elements of Sport Ireland’s new Women in Sport Policy - further boosted by an increased annual fund of €2 million.

The position of Women in Sport Lead will be filled presently, and a 10-person steering committee has also been named to oversee the implementation of the policy: chaired by former Irish women’s rugby international Lynne Cantwell, this will include asking the 58 National Governing Bodies (NGB’s) to set gender diversity targets and develop equality action plans.

Last month, an overall package of €31.8 million was announced towards investment in the 58 NGB’s, plus the 29 Local Sports Partnerships across: for the last three years, the allocation for women in sport was €600,000, but is increasing to €2m from 2019, with NGB’s now being invited to submit specific requests as part of a competitive-bid process and Sport Ireland programmes at a national level.

Sport Ireland established the Women in Sport Programme in 2005, allocating an extra €750,000 primarily aimed at increasing participation among younger woman; this is the first time they’ve set out a specific women in sport policy document.

In March of last year, the Women in Sport review was established to refresh the strategic approach to women in sport to reflect present-day challenges and opportunities: the result of that piece of work is now the policy document, aligned with the Government’s National Sports Policy 2018 to 2027.

“We are delighted to have put in place a Women in Sport Steering Committee that is full of experience and expertise, which will oversee the delivery of the policy,” said Sport Ireland Director of Participation and Ethics, Dr Una May. “It is our intention that this will lead to a step-change in the landscape for women’s participation in sport across the board from grassroots to leadership.

“The publication of this policy is an important development for sport in Ireland. Sport Ireland is tasked with overseeing action 32 of the National Sports Policy 2018-2017, which promotes gender diversity and equality action plans.”

Among the key aims of the policy is to have equal participation between males and females in sport. At adult level, the gap has closed from 15.7 per cent to 4.5 per cent since 2007 (according to the Irish Sports Monitor 2017). Other areas aren’t faring so well: in terms of visibility, the proportion of sports print media articles devoted to women’s sport is just three per cent (according to Sport Ireland research 2015).

“Sport Ireland began an extensive review in 2018, which examined the current landscape of women in sport in Ireland, identifying any barriers to their participation in all areas of sport,” said Cantwell, who remains Ireland’s most capped women’s rugby player.

“Through the hosting of focus groups, gathering and analysing qualitative and quantitative research on women’s involvement in sport, identifying international best practice in the area of advancing involvement in sport, and consultation with key stakeholders on the barriers and opportunities, Sport Ireland has developed this policy which we feel will have a significant impact of the future of women’s sport in Ireland. Together with the new Women in Sport Steering Committee, I look forward to overseeing the implementation of this ambitious policy.”

The full-time Women in Sport Lead (the positioned has been offered to a yet unnamed candidate) will be tasked with leading out the development and promotion of women and girl’s involvement in sport from leadership to participation to high performance. She will also lead, advocate for, and evaluate this policy.

The policy identifies four key areas of focus, where Sport Ireland wants to make a significant, positive and measurable impact,” added Sport Ireland chief executive, John Treacy. “Our work in the area of Women in Sport over the coming years will be centred on coaching and officiating, active participation, leadership and governance and visibility, and in order to help us deliver on the policy, Sport Ireland will shortly be appointing a Women in Sport Lead.”

Sport Ireland Women in Sport Steering Committee -

Lynne Cantwell, Chair - Sport Ireland Board

Joanne Cantwell - Broadcaster, RTÉ Sport

Mary Dorgan - Sport Ireland Board

Jenny Egan - International Athlete, Canoeing

John Fulham - President, Paralympics Ireland

Frances Kavanagh - Former Director of Sport, Special Olympics Ireland

Sarah Keane - Chief Executive, Swim Ireland/President, Olympic Federation of Ireland

Mary O’Connor - Chief Executive, Federation of Irish Sport

Kelli O’Keeffe - Managing Director, Teneo

John Sweeney - Coordinator, Clare Sports Partnership

Women in Sport Policy - Four Key Areas -

1. Coaching and Officiating: Broaden the coaching base to include more women from grassroots to high performance; Increase the number of women officiating and refereeing

2. Active Participation: Significantly reduce the active sport participation gradient between men and women; reduce the drop-out from physical activity and sport in young girls

3. Leadership and Governance: Progress towards greater gender balance in Board membership of funded bodies; provide a pathway for women aspiring to become leaders of funded bodies

4. Visibility: Increase the visibility and profile of our female role models in sport; use the heroes of today to inspire the next generation of future Olympians and Paralympians

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.