Sport Ireland Announces €3 Million Investment in Women in Sport
Sport Ireland today announced a multi-year investment of over €3 million in National Governing Bodies of Sport through the re-launched Women in Sport Programme.
This compliments the €265,000 allocated to Local Sports Partnerships earlier this year, bring Sport Ireland’s investment in Women in Sport for 2019 and 2020 to €3,277,000.
Today’s announcement follows the publication of Sport Ireland’s new Policy on Women in Sport earlier this year. The policy builds on the significant work that has already been undertaken in this area within the sport sector to date, recognising the opportunity to make a significant impact on the lives of women through their involvement in sport.
The Policy on Women in Sport identifies Coaching & Officiating, Active Participation, Leadership & Governance and Visibility as four key target areas, with National Governing Bodies invited to apply for funding under these themes.
Speaking at the announcement at the Sport Ireland Campus in Blanchardstown, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin TD, said: “One of the key objectives of the Government’s National Sports Policy is to increase the number of women and girls participating in sport and to eliminate the participation gradient between men and women. While the gender gradient, at 4.5%, is narrower now than at any point over the past ten years, it is important that this gradient is eliminated altogether. Sport Ireland’s new Women in Sport Policy and the re-launched Women in Sport Programme is essential in this regard. I want to pay a particular tribute to our high profile sportswomen who continue to inspire and encourage thousands of girls and young women throughout Ireland every day to become involved in sport and to stay involved.”
Through the Women in Sport Programme, many National Governing Bodies for Sport have developed innovative programmes which target groups of young girls, teenage girls and older adults. While active participation remains important, the areas of leadership, coaching and officiating have become a key focus for many of the National Governing Bodies.
Chair of the Sport Ireland Women in Sport Steering Group, Lynne Cantwell, added: “Through the allocation of this funding, the Sport Ireland Women in Sport Policy is coming to life. While active participation remains vitally important, in line with the Women in Sport Policy Sport Ireland encouraged funded bodies to look at other areas of involvement as well. The funding process has seen National Governing Bodies embrace projects focussed on developing leadership opportunities, and pathways to coaching and officiating. This holistic approach will lead to a step-change in the landscape for women’s involvement in sport across the board from grassroots to leadership.”
A key aim of the Women in Sport programme is to have equal participation between males and females in sport. The gender gradient in sports participation has closed from 15.7% to 4.5% since 2007 according to the most recent Irish Sports Monitor (2017).
Sport Ireland Chairman, Kieran Mulvey, said: “The allocation of this substantial investment in the National Governing Bodies through the Women in Sport Programme is the first tangible deliverable of the new Women in Sport Policy, which was published earlier this year. Through moving to a multi-annual funding model, we are looking to create long lasting cultural change within the sporting landscape, where opportunities exist for girls and women of all ages, background or circumstance.”
Sport Ireland Chief Executive, John Treacy, added: “That fact that the Women in Sport funding programme was oversubscribed demonstrates the buy-in from the sector to make a meaningful impact. With the publication of the Sport Ireland Women in Sport Policy, the appointment of Nora Stapleton as Women in Sport Lead and the re-launched Women in Sport Programme, we will look to substantially increase the number of women and girls getting involved in sport.”
One of the key actions of the Sport Ireland Women in Sport Policy is the appointment of a Women in Sport Lead to act authoritatively and strategically to develop and promote women and girl’s involvement in sport. Former Irish international rugby player, Nora Stapleton, was appointed to the role in April of this year.
Sport Ireland Director of Participation and Ethics, Dr Una May, commented: “The allocation of funding is an important step in the delivery of action 32 of the National Sports Policy 2018-2027, which promotes gender diversity and equality action plans. Through the publication of the Women in Sport Policy, we are committing to increasing women’s involvement in sport in a sustainable way; whether that be as volunteers, coaches, athletes or leaders. As one of the key actions of the policy, Sport Ireland has appointed Nora Stapleton to the position of Women in Sport Lead. Nora will be a support to all of our funded bodies as their Women in Sport programmes come to life.”