Wednesday, 10 October 2007
Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism
Participation in Sport
Question 235: To ask the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the definition being used for sport in the Programme for Government which states that only 10% of women are engaged in sport; and when the council for female participation in sport will be established. [23066/07]
Under the Irish Sports Council Act 1999, competitive sport is defined as "all forms of physical activity which, through organised participation, aim at expressing or improving physical fitness and at obtaining improved results in competition at all levels" and recreational sport is defined as "all forms of physical activity which, through casual or regular participation, aim at expressing or improving physical fitness and mental well-being and at forming social relationships".
ESRI research commissioned by the Irish Sports Council highlighted the fact that only a small minority of women in Ireland — less than one in five — came close to the levels of physical activity deemed to constitute the minimum necessary for good health by the World Health Organisation. That is, an accumulated 30 minutes of physical activity per day for at least five days per week. The research highlighted that more than three quarters of women do some recreational physical activity (principally walking, swimming or aerobics) but the majority do so with insufficient regularity or intensity of effort to meet the minimum standard.
In order to address this problem, the Women in Sport programme has received significant Government funding since it was launched in 2005. Through the Women in Sport programme, this Government supports the work of the Irish Sports Council in encouraging women — young and old alike — to become involved in sport as participants, players, officials and administrators.
In relation to Forum on Female Participation in Sport, which is provided for in the Programme for Government, my Department will be liaising with the Irish Sports Council on this matter.