Athletics Ireland has unveiled a new Women in Sport Strategic Plan covering the next three years.
This plan represents a commitment to women in sport and amplifies the vision of the governing body to inspire the nation to be active, healthy and to perform through athletics.
The strategic plan has been developed by Athletics Ireland Women in Sport Officer, Lilly-Ann O’Hora in conjunction with an extensive consultation process over recent months.
There are five principal commitments in the plan.
To increase the gender balance on all national committees to a minimum 40 per cent of each gender.
To develop and support a robust pipeline of women in leadership roles through programmes and pathways.
To increase the number of women attending higher-level coaching courses by 10 per cent each year.
To contribute to the health and wellbeing of women and girls across the nation.
To communicate the highlighting of women in leadership.
These are then spread across four strategic pillars in line with the Sport Ireland Women in Sport programme on Coaching, Participation, Leadership and Visibility.
This gets down to good granular detail of setting a target to establish a further 15 Women in Sport committees at club level over the course of the next 12 months.
The membership of Athletics Ireland is currently 53 per cent female but in coaching the number of Level One coaches is 40 per cent and the number at the highest level three is only seven per cent.
There are plenty of well-constructed programmes laid out in the plan to get to the stated objectives, including a Girls Squad aimed at Transition Year students and the Forerunners programme.
“While athletics has a long history of promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls, it is a sign of leadership that an organisation can recognise the areas where improvements can still occur,” said Sport Ireland Women in Sport Lead Nora Stapleton.
“Sport Ireland welcomes and congratulates Athletics Ireland on the development and launch of its Women in Sport Strategic Plan, and we look forward to supporting the ongoing strides the organisation makes in its commitment to women in sport.”
“The contribution of women to athletics as athletes, coaches, officials and administrators has been immense,” added Brid Golden, Deputy President of Athletics Ireland and Chair of the Coaching and Development Committee.
“Athletics Ireland is committed to providing equal opportunities to women to achieve their potential and enjoy all the benefits of our sport. Our Women in Sport Strategic Plan will ensure that we have a structured development of participation and leadership opportunities and ensure that more women are involved in all sectors of our sport.”
“As CEO I’ve had the privilege of seeing first-hand the impacts Women have had across all levels of our sport, particularly in key decision-making roles,” said Hamish Adams, CEO of Athletics Ireland.
“This strategic plan provides a road map for our organisation to attract, retain and support our female members to develop within athletics across the many roles available. This is an exciting time for our sport.”
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This is a positive way of turning fine words into actions with impact. Setting hard targets will focus the mind and give Lilly-Ann O’Hora a strong platform from which to bring a willing sport along towards a future where the structure and administration of the sport matches that of the membership base.
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