All the month’s women in sport news including the future of camogie, Six Nations rugby and international football.
A bright future all mapped out
At the beginning of the month, the Camogie Association unveiled its vision for the future – a four-year plan called 'Our Sport, Our Future'. The plan focuses on player welfare initiatives, increasing the number of players, coaches and referees, promotion of the sport in the media, improving the administration and commercial aspects of the game and, in particular, the drop-off rates for girls participating in sport. The fact that they are higher than they are for men is an issue Catherine Neary, president of the Camogie Association, is aware of.
The public view of women involved in sport is different to how they see men, and we want to help change that
"The public view of women involved in sport is different to how they see men, and we want to help change that," she said. "Through the strategic plan we will have a panel of former and current players to speak to the media and public about camogie and role models both for players and to encourage girls to take up the sport to help them develop."
Neary hopes that the plan will promote a bright future for the game. "Our goal is that in four years' time we will have increased the number of players, improved Camogie's profile in the media, (with) more people attending games and new people in the sport," she said.
Six Nations wraps up
Ireland manager Tom Tierney has spoken of his hope for the future of women’s rugby in this country, after a host of inexperienced players stepped up to take their place in the tournament.
Unfortunately, Ireland were unable to retain their Six Nations title, finishing third after France, then England. It was however, a good exercise for Tierney, who used the tournament as an opportunity to try out various new team combinations. Players he has called out as ones to watch include Ciara Cooney, Ciara Griffin, Cliodhna Moloney, Zoe Grattage and Lindsay Peat.
All of those players are worth their weight in gold in the sense that they've proved that they can be competitive
"All of those players are worth their weight in gold in the sense that they've proved that they can be competitive” he said. "Again, I always go back to the fact that they're only learning, but they do show the foundation blocks to be actually competitive at an international stage. Then it's our job to help them to get better, and it's very, very pleasing."
International Women’s day recap and exciting news for Afghan women
On Monday the 7th of March to mark International Women’s Day, we invited some influential business and sporting figures to our Blanchardstown offices, to take part in a panel discussion. They were Irish Olympic sailor Annalise Murphy; Dr Ashley O’ Donoghue from NUI Maynooth; former Irish women’s rugby captain Fiona Coghlan; and Mary Louise Delahunty, the Deputy Head of Insurance Supervision at the Central Bank of Ireland. It was a great discussion, which covered lots of different issues affecting women today, including diversity in the workplace and the sporting arena, the financial services sector, role models and mentors inside and outside of business, and media coverage of women’s sports.
The 8th of March was International Women’s Day, a day sportswear giant Hummel picked to announce an exciting new partnership. The Danish company has joined forces with the Afghan Football Federation in a deal that will also support the women’s national team, with hijabs integrated into kits.
The kit covers the players from head to toe, without constricting movement or compromising performance. It is expected that the new and innovative kit will help open up the sport to Afghan women and allow them to compete on an equal footing with other national teams from all over the world.
firmly believes that if you want to create positive change, you have to meet people as well as nations and cultures, where they are.
Hummel owner Christian Stadil said he “firmly believes that if you want to create positive change, you have to meet people as well as nations and cultures, where they are. So, if we want to create positive change for women in Afghanistan we have to meet them where they are. Many of these women have to or want to wear a hijab, and that's why we have chosen to make a very cool and very fashionable sports hijab for these great girls of Afghanistan.”
Finally, if you buy one book this month…
Make it ‘Kicking Off’, by sports journalist Sarah Shephard, about how women in sport are changing the game. As well as detailing the history of sportswomen, the book outlines the main issues that affect them to this day.
Throughout the book you’ll encounter some startling, and quite frankly, depressing stats. For example, how women led Britain’s gold rush at the 2012 Olympics, yet only a year later, their top five sports sponsorships totaled £1.4 million, compared to the corresponding men’s total of £590 million.
It’s not all doom and gloom though. In America 24.5 million football fans watched the 2015 Women’s World Cup final (up from 18.2 million in 2011) and England’s quarter-final was watched by an average of 1.7million in Britain. Shephard concludes that things are looking up: “If you put it (women’s sport) on terrestrial TV the interest is there,” she argues. “People will always watch sport when it’s put in front of them.”