Playback on “Women’s Sport in the Time of COVID-19”

The latest in our series of weekly Live webinars focused on the area of Women in Sport and the impact that COVID-19 has had over the past three months.

We were joined by World Championship medallist Jenny Egan, Rugby International Sene Naoupu, Sport Ireland Women in Sport Lead Nora Stapleton and Lidl Sponsorship Manager Joe Mooney for a wide-ranging conversation.

There have been worrying signs but they have been countered by positives as well.

The English Premier League in the men’s game has taken up millions of words in terms of a return while the Women’s Super League was allowed to slip quietly away by the FA, feeling almost as a footnote.

That was not the same in Germany or the United States where the Women’s game has emerged stronger. What way will we go in Ireland?

There was a blow to Women’s Rugby with the loss of the main sponsor of the club game in England but Sene Naoupu gave us comfort that in fact the discussions taking place within the International Rugby Players Association and at World Rugby level were going to advance the cause of equality.

It is a conversation that continues but this snapshot in which we covered the reaction of National Governing Bodies, the ways in which sponsors have remained on board, the manner in which programmes including 20X20 have maintained momentum and more.

A straw poll of the audience we had gathered showed a positive reaction with 26 per cent feeling that momentum behind the advance of equality in sport was stronger, 54 per cent that it had held its own and only 20 per cent feeling that we had lost momentum.

We fully accept that this was a positive group, self-selecting to spend an hour of a Thursday afternoon engaged in debate.

But we need a level of ownership, a degree of wanting to lead a movement towards a better future rather than just following others.

We think if you are of similar mind that you will find this session of real interest…

It has certainly been hard in areas but overall there was a positive sense about how there has been time to nurture the deeper roots of sporting culture and ensure that in the longer term Women’s place in the sporting environment is much improved…


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