30 Jan 2006

Women In Sport Networking Event

The inaugural Women in Sport Networking event, as part of the ISC Women in Sport Initiative was held in the Terrace Cafe of the National Concert Hall on Wednesday Jan 25th 2006. The event was well attended by representatives of various NGBs and LSPs, and other interested individuals including Debbie Massey, CEO of Irish Basketball, Noel King, Irish Ladies International Soccer Manager, Grania Willis of the Irish Times, and President of Camogie Miriam O'Callaghan.

The aim of the evening was to give everyone the opportunity to identify current issues and network with women involved in sports administration.  Mary Davis CEO of Special Olympics Ireland kicked off the event by outlining her experiences in sport as a youngster, moving onto her career in sport as Director of Special Olympics Ireland and detailing how Ireland managed to secure and host the World Games in 2003 and the challenges she and her team met along the way.

Mary was followed to the podium by Shelia O'Flanagan, well known author and perhaps lesser known for her involvement over a number of years within Irish Badminton as Treasurer to the Union.Shelia spoke of how participating in sport serves to greatly enhance the confidence of the individual, and spoke elloquently of the character sport can help to build in a person and of it's many values to young girls and women. She also highlighted some of the barriers to sports participation and administration for women and urged the audience to work to remove those barriers.

Deirdre Lavin, Co-ordinator of Sligo Sports and Recreation Partnership, was the final speaker on the night, and outlined the many practical steps the Partnership in Sligo is taking to encourage more women or girls into sport, through for example their ACTIVE GIRLS initiative and their Walking Weekends, as well as the Youth Sport West Programme.

Lively debate followed the speakers and various key issues were raised including the need for female role models in Irish Sport, the need for action in the area of confidence building with regard to encouraging more Women to become involved on sports committees and within sports administration and many more.

Due to the success of the event the ISC proposes to hold another WIS networking event in the near future to develop the ideas and issues raised and channel them into action through the Women in Sport Initiative. If you are interested in attending the next Networking session or have a particular viewpoint or suggestion for the WIS initiative please make contact with Fiona Coyne in the ISC: or write to us at Women in Sport, Irish Sports COuncil, Top Floor, Block A, Westend Office Pk, Blanchardstown, D15. "Promoting, Encouraging and Supporting Women in Sport."