In September 2019 Sport Ireland announced €3 Million in funding specifically geared towards projects aimed at enabling and encouraging the participation of more women in sport.
The range of projects, spread across 40 different sports is impressive. In this series we will take a look at a selection of them in the belief that sharing knowledge anout smart initiatives is a good thing to do.
More than 1,000 female secondary school students will get the chance to sample life in the fast lane after a joint initiative by Motorsport Ireland and Formula Female received funding of €35,000 from the Sport Ireland Women in Sport grant scheme.
The new Go Girls Karting Initiative will provide 1,080 girls aged 13-16 from all over Ireland with an opportunity to combine sporting and educational experiences as they get behind the wheel.
Go Girls will be led by Ireland World Cup hockey star Nicci Daly, who has also worked as a Data Engineer for Indycar Team, Juncos Racing. The programme will offer classroom workshops to demystify and align practical STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) subjects with motorsport, as well as an introduction to kart driving on local tracks.
Karting is the gateway to motorsport in Ireland and internationally. However, currently only 4.5% of Motorsport Ireland karting competitors are female. Motorsport Ireland, the governing body of motorsport in Ireland, is determined to increase this as part of its 2020 Women in Sport commitment.
The Go Girls Initiative has received funding of €35,000 from Sport Ireland in year one of a two-year programme. This funding will be matched by Team Ireland, a philanthropic organisation which supports Irish motorsport. Total investment in the initiative in 2019-2020 is expected to be up to €140,000.
The Go Girls Karting Initiative is designed to drive visibility and active participation by highlighting positive female role models who are successful in motorsport, other sports, and related education.
This year’s inaugural programme is open to 1,080 female students between the ages of 13 and 16 from 36 schools throughout Ireland between September 2019 and May 2020. They will learn about karting, hear from female sporting role models, and complete STEM workshops before being able to get behind the wheel for the Karting Challenge and participate in provincial championships.
“We are delighted to be funded by Sport Ireland for this fantastic initiative and I would like to make special mention of our co-funder in Team Ireland, John Campion,” said Motorsport Ireland CEO Leo Hassett.
“Without John’s support, this programme wouldn’t be possible. We believe this initiative has the potential to significantly increase the number of young, female karting competitors throughout the country, and provide a gateway to lifetime participation in motorsport.”
The mission of Go Girls is to ‘engage, educate and empower’ females to compete in motorsport and to promote the importance of STEM, the role it plays in the sport and possible career opportunities.
Go Girls Programme Coordinator, Nicci Daly, a qualified mechanical engineer with an MSc in Motorsport Engineering, said: “I understand the importance that STEM education plays in motorsport and the potential career opportunities it can open up.Using Motorsport as a platform to teach STEM provides a new way of thinking for students. It enables them to get excited about what they are learning and to be able to translate the theory into something that is real and fun.
“What encourages me most about this initiative is that it exposes young women in Ireland to a sporting and related educational experience all in one.”
Go Girls will be run by Motorsport Ireland in conjunction with Formula Female, and is supported by Sport Ireland, Team Ireland, 20×20 Campaign, Tillotson Racing and Griffith College.
Sport for Business Analysis:
The greatest gains can come from a sustained effort to target the hardest to reach sectors. That only less than five per cent of those involved in Karting are female makes this a case for real action, especially when you consider that 50 per cent of drivers are women.
A programme that links education with sport in such a practical way is also a real winner.
Image Credit Conor McCabe Photography