Marking International Women’s Day, the Olympic Federation of Ireland has today announced the establishment of a Gender Equality Commission, a sub-committee of its Board.

The establishment of this commission reinforces the OFI’s commitment to gender balance across all areas of sport.

The newly formed Gender Equality Commission has already identified two key areas that will be targeted; visibility and the gender imbalance in high-performance coaching.

The members of the OFI Gender Equality Commission are:

 

Lochlann Walsh

Lochlann Walsh is an OFI Board member who was previously the President of Triathlon Ireland. He has been a member of the board since 2017. Lochlann was recently appointed to the Olympic Academy Working Group of the EOC.

Deirdre Carbery

Deirdre Carbery is a former Lieutenant in the Irish Army, Security Strategist and Gender Advisor for World Health Innovation Summit. She has a comprehensive background in gender, diversity and inclusion with the UN and NATO to progress the Women, Peace and Security Agenda internationally. Deirdre was one of the guest speakers at the inaugural OFI Gender Equality in Sport Online Series in 2020, speaking about leadership.

Bernard Dunne

Bernard Dunne is a retired Professional Boxer. He is a former WBA Super Bantamweight World Champion and also a former European Super Bantamweight Champion. Since announcing his retirement in 2010, Bernard has been a regular face on our TV screens as a popular panellist on RTÉ Sport covering everything from Boxing, Soccer and GAA to Current Affairs. Bernard is currently the High Performance Director for Irish Boxing with the Irish Athletic Boxing Association. Bernard was one of the guest speakers at the inaugural OFI Gender Equality in Sport Online Series in 2020, speaking about leadership in coaching.

Lisa Fallon

Lisa Fallon is a name known to many in the Irish footballing circles and is among the most respected coaches in the country. Holding a UEFA pro licence, Fallon has worked with highly successful international and professional club teams both in England and Ireland as well as with the Dublin Senior Gaelic footballers. Fallon also works as a regular football analyst on RTE to give expert insight to broadcasted games. Lisa currently works in the Technical Division of FIFA’s High Performance Department and was one of the guest speakers at the inaugural OFI Gender Equality in Sport Online Series in 2020, speaking about leadership in high performance coaching. Lisa was one of the guest speakers at the inaugural OFI Gender Equality in Sport Online Series in 2020, speaking about leadership in coaching.

Rob Hartnett

Rob Hartnett established the renowned Sport for Business community to connect businesses and sport through events, publications and networking. Through his work and community, he has shone the light on many key topics, most significantly women in sport, and the visibility of sportswomen in the media.

Clíona O’Leary

Former Chair of the European Broadcast Union’s (EBU) Women in Sport Expert Group, Clíona has developed expertise in the interrogation of barriers within structures and implementing measures to nullify them. Clíona worked in editorial, production and operations within RTÉ Sport for close to 25 years, completing her time there as Deputy Head of TV Sport for the last 11 years (2010-2021). She holds an MSc in Sports Management and is currently completing a Masters in Business Practice. Clíona is also Deputy-Chair of Ranelagh Gaels, which has gender equality targets and co-lead Coach with their U10 girl’s team.  She worked on every Olympic Games for the organization over the last two decades; from programme editor on Sydney 2000 to away team leader in Beijing and Rio and was one of the guest speakers at the inaugural OFI Gender Equality in Sport Online Series in 2020, speaking about leadership in media.

 

Following on from the Gender Equality in Sport Online Series that was held in 2020, the OFI is committed to driving gender equality reforms across sport.

In 2020 the member federations of the OFI approved a motion for a minimum gender balance of 40% for the OFI Board. The Athletes’ Commission introduced the same minimum gender balance mechanisms, and in 2021 the OFI helped to bring about similar advances with the support of the members of the European Olympic Committees.

Additionally, President of the OFI Sarah Keane was one of fifteen experts across Europe who sits on the EU High-Level Group on Gender Equality in Sport, which is a one year project aimed at addressing gender equality. This body has developed an extensive report which will be published at EU level this month.

“It is very fitting that we announce the establishment of the OFI Gender Equality Commission today, on International Women’s Day, ” said Commission Chair Lochlann Walsh.

“We are developing a long-term strategy within the Commission which will be two-fold; we will focus on driving more visibility for women’s sport, and also to promote and support the development of high performance female coaches in Ireland.”

“We know that as a starting point the media coverage of women’s sports falls considerably behind that of men’s sports, and we also know that female representation within high performance coaching is too low – at the Tokyo Olympic Games only 13 per cent of all coaches globally were female.

“These are facts that need to be addressed. Within this commission, we have a vast amount of experience and expertise. We look forward to working together to create tangible changes.”

“This level of expertise on this Commission is very strong and gives us a real platform to drive further changes needed within Irish sport,” added OFI President Sarah Keane.

“The members are passionate about gender equality and in each of their spheres – from media to coaching and administration – both inside and outside of sports have already done very significant work, breaking barriers and providing the challenges needed for real change.”

Over the coming months, the next steps in activating the strategic plan will be revealed by the OFI Gender Equality Commission.

 

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