Women in Officiating Research

Women in Sport

Sport Ireland has released the findings of the online officiating survey which exclusively targeted active and inactive women officials across all sports on the island of Ireland.

The survey, and subsequent individual interviews and focus group conversations, were undertaken to address the information gap that exists on the officiating experience of women in Ireland and the impact this has on their involvement in sports officiating.

Led by Knight, Kavanagh & Page on behalf of Sport Ireland, the online survey was launched during Women in Sport Week 2022 and focused on active women officials and inactive women officials. Nineteen semi-structured interviews and 7 focus groups were carried out to delve deeper into the survey results.

412 women officials responded to the survey, with a breakdown of 354 active women officials and 58 inactive women officials.

The report presents a balanced view of women’s experience of officiating. Women are motivated to officiate and feel competent and confident. However, more than half of the respondents to the survey experience abuse or criticism when officiating and many feel the pathways into and through officiating are not clear to women. 

Women are interested in progressing and developing their officiating, three quarters of the respondents have qualifications. Whilst the majority of the respondents feel well supported by their NGB, that support can sometimes feel ad hoc.

The report explores reasons why women officials tend to quit and finally, will show how almost half of women officials had never or hardly ever been exposed to women officials in their own sporting career, but that many of those who had been exposed to women officials said it influenced their decision to officiate.