Women in Sport; The Next Chapter

Published on 16 March 2018

Croke Park, Tuesday 6th March

In advance of International Women’s Day 2018 new research undertaken by Liberty Insurance was launched in Croke Park at ‘Women in Sport, The Next Chapter’ in early March. The event featured experts from the world of elite sport, media and business brought together to discuss some of the key challenges facing women’s sport and female athletes.

Accompanying RTÉ broadcaster Joanne Cantwell was a panel of speakers including Anna Kessel MBE; World Rugby Referee of the Year Joy Neville; former Irish rugby international Fiona Coghlan; and Camogie All-Star Mags D’Arcy. New research by RED C highlighted the changing attitudes towards women’s sport. The survey revealed that:

  • Irish men are more likely to watch or attend female sports events than women in both Ireland and the UK
  • 43% of Irish men said they have attended or watched a major women’s sports event in the last 12 months compared to 30% of females. In the UK, these figures dropped to 25% of males and 10% of females.
  • Older men are the most likely to follow female sport. Over half (57%) of all men over 55 in Ireland have watched or attended a women’s sporting event versus just 30% of females in the same age bracket.

The most frequently cited reason for the low engagement in women’s sport was a ‘general lack of interest’. 47% of Irish people and 55% of people in the UK cited this as their primary reason for not attending or watching women’s sport.

Other barriers to engagement in Ireland included a lack of knowledge (16%), lack of time (15%), insufficient buzz or excitement (12%), and not growing up with women’s sport (16%).



Deirdre Ashe, Director of Customer & Markets, Liberty Insurance said:

“We’re delighted to be sharing these results today and shining a light on the progress being made in the area of women in sport in Ireland. 2017 represented an important year for women’s sport and the success of Ireland’s hosting of the Women’s Rugby World Cup, Joy Neville being awarded World Rugby referee of the year and record-breaking attendances at the All Ireland Ladies Football Final proved to be particular highlights.

“the research that we’ve published today shows that the engagement and willingness to support women’s sport is increasing, though more needs to be done to generate a broader awareness of women’s sport, its heroes, rivalries, and narratives. This has to start at an early age. If children are not exposed to female sport, they are highly unlikely to engage with it as adults.

Since undertaking our sponsorship of the Camogie Championships and inaugural Camogie All Stars, our ambition has always been to raise the profile and recognition of women in sport. It is important to maintain the progress made to date. We all have a duty to do more to promote female sport in the short and long term. The conversation on women’s sport has really gained traction in the past five years. The next challenge is to progress this conversation in a meaningful way and to identify the next steps needed to drive continued female participation in sport and to give its heroes the platform they deserve.”

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