Written answers

Thursday, 29 September 2022

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

Equality Issues

Photo of Jennifer Murnane O'ConnorJennifer Murnane O'Connor (Carlow-Kilkenny, Fianna Fail)
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51. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she will provide an update on work under way to promote female participation in sport and enhanced female participation in leadership within sport. [47529/22]

Photo of Jack ChambersJack Chambers (Dublin West, Fianna Fail)
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Addressing women’s participation at all levels in sport is an important element of the National Sports Policy.

The Women in Sport funding programme is an important support for sporting bodies in putting programmes in place to increase women’s participation in their sports and to progress their strategic objectives for women in sport. Last year, Sport Ireland announced an investment of €4 million in the Women in Sport Programme for the 2021 - 2022 period.  45 National Governing Bodies (NGBs) are receiving funding under this investment.  A further €265,000 was invested last year in the Local Sports Partnerships under the Programme.

Sport Ireland continues to promote women’s participation in sport. For example, recognising the importance that campaigns can play in encouraging and supporting women and girls to be active, the first ever HER Outdoors Week was held in August 2021. Due to the success of the campaign, Sport Ireland ran the event again this August.  Over 350 events took place nationwide with over 7000 females participating across the 7 days. HER Outdoors week aims to celebrate and encourage more females to get out and enjoy the benefits of being in the outdoors while bringing visibility to the opportunities for females to get involved in outdoor physical activity. The campaign targets all females including females with a disability, females from diverse ethnic groups, older females, teenage girls, and females from disadvantaged areas, etc.

The Sports Action Plan sets a target for all NGBs to achieve 40% gender representation on their boards by the end of 2023. It is a particular priority for me to enable women to take more leadership positions in sport and the 40% target reflects this prioritisation. The most recent Board Composition Snapshot, which was published by Sport Ireland in December 2021, shows that the overall percentage of women on boards of NGBs has increased from 24% in 2019 to 32% in 2021. The Snapshot also highlights that 39 NGBs have now achieved representation of 30% or more women on their board, up from 19 NGBs in 2019.

Sport Ireland recently outlined their funding priorities for NGBs for 2023 onwards. From next year, Sport Ireland’s grant funding to sporting organisations will be more closely aligned to the Government’s key policies for sport with four specific funding priorities being included as an important element of Sport Ireland’s grant funding criteria. One of these priority funding areas for 2023 is the achievement of 40% gender balance on Boards of NGBs. This will ensure that the State’s investment in sport is delivering on this key policy objective. Failure by sporting organisations to achieve 40% gender balance on their boards will impact on future funding.


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