Sea swimming essentials every first-timer should have on their list
Sea swimming essentials every first-timer should have on their list

Sarah Finnan

Calling all biscuit lovers! We’re giving away a hamper of Maltesers biscuits
Calling all biscuit lovers! We’re giving away a hamper of Maltesers biscuits

Lauren Heskin

Would you tell a friend if they’d gone overboard with Botox or fillers?
Would you tell a friend if they’d gone overboard with Botox or fillers?

Amanda Cassidy

What to make this weekend: A grown-up ice-cream sundae
What to make this weekend: A grown-up ice-cream sundae

Meg Walker

How to stop procrastinating what you know you have to face
How to stop procrastinating what you know you have to face

Niamh Ennis

Step off the hamster wheel of dieting: an in-depth guide to intuitive eating
Step off the hamster wheel of dieting: an in-depth guide to intuitive eating

Melanie Morris

Ouai x Byredo is back with more scented haircare
Ouai x Byredo is back with more scented haircare

Holly O'Neill

This recently renovated Ranelagh home is on the market for €1.25 million
This recently renovated Ranelagh home is on the market for €1.25 million

Megan Burns

Considering getting hitched at home? Two couples on their at-home weddings
Considering getting hitched at home? Two couples on their at-home weddings

Lizzie Gore-Grimes

With soon-to-be-three salons, a beauty brand and a little one at home, Kate Verling of Mink Hand and Foot Spa on mastering multitasking
With soon-to-be-three salons, a beauty brand and a little one at home, Kate Verling of...

Lauren Heskin

Image / Editorial

20×20 campaign has the power to change the landscape of female sport in Ireland


by Edaein OConnell
16th Oct 2018
blank

In a recent interview with IMAGE, Mayo footballer Sarah Rowe explained that although the recognition of women’s sports in Ireland had improved, there is still a considerable way to go before it’s on par with the men’s equivalent.

Considerable steps were taken yesterday to close that gap, with the launch of the new 20×20 campaign. The initiative – which has the support of Lidl, AIG, Investec and KPMG – aims to increase media coverage and attendance at women’s sports events and overall participation by 20% in the next two years.

20×20 hopes to change the cultural perception of female sports; a perception which can be biased at times, in favour of male sports. The campaign pledges, “This isn’t a ‘women for women’ initiative; it’s ‘all of society for all of society,’” and that the benefits which will come with these advances will outweigh any negative annotations.

Organisers are urging all aspects of Irish society to get involved. Universities, schools, and gyms can create better conditions and opportunities for girls to become more involved in sports, and the media can pledge to increase their coverage of female sports events and awareness of female athletes.

The reality of women in sports

At yesterdays official launch in Dublin, female sports stars from around the country gathered together to tell their own personal stories of being female in the Irish sports industry. Cork’s Rena Buckley, an 18-time All-Ireland winner, shared her story of being asked to present medals to under-12 and under-14 boys and girls. When she arrived she was told the GAA team had decided they didn’t want her to hand out the medals to the boys, and that she would now solely only hand out the medals to the girls. A young local man was then asked to hand out the medals in lieu of Rena; she said the man was “mortified” and couldn’t even look at her.

The story Rena told highlighted the discrepancies in how sports in this country are displayed to both boys and girls. When situations like this occur, boys will only correlate to boys, and girls will only associate themselves with girls; with the aspiration for equality only ever a pipe dream.

Who do girls look up to?

In an official promotional video, the 20×20 campaign asked young girls who their favourite sports stars were; they were all male. They explained they didn’t know any female sports stars; that they knew the opinions of women’s sports, in general, is second class to men’s. One girl spoke of how, in school, the only way a boy will pass the ball to a girl is if a teacher makes a rule to do so. This is something we can all relate to. Many of us have overriding memories of boys-only football and hurling teams in school; girls being picked last for teams and boys being celebrated.

Personally, as a youngster, the only Irish female sports star I was aware of was Sonia O’ Sullivan, and outside of her I had no knowledge of female GAA or soccer stars. It was just that way it was. You knew no differently; you accepted it and moved on. This new campaign says, “If she can’t see it, she can’t be it”. We couldn’t envisage them, so how could any of us dream to be them? The same goes for thousands of girls across the country, who are enamoured by sport but feel that (in the long-term) they will never be comparable to the boys.

The capability for cultural revolution becomes more evident by the day. The depths of social media and its power can now change the personality and viewpoints of generations. But the shift can only begin if their education changes. The way children are trained to view sports and equality must diversify; not only for girls but for boys too. The media they will grow up to consume – media which is produced in such vasts amounts – must try to present a somewhat equal balance of gender roles. Girls should never feel like the ball is being passed to them out of obligation, rather for their confounded talent.

This initiative has the power to change that.

Find out more about 20×20 and how to get involved here.

Also Read

blank
EDITORIAL
‘Quite interesting’: Princess Anne comments on The Crown

We’ve all heard that the royal family don’t exactly gather round to watch The Crown, but one member has shared...

By Jennifer McShane

abgc_architects_aoife_herrity
EDITORIAL
A plain extension in Dublin 8 provides a blank canvas for a design-minded couple

ABGC Architects were enlisted to transform a large white box into a functional living space for two design-minded homeowners. When...

By Amanda Kavanagh

blank
EDITORIAL
Chrissy Teigen’s past trolling tweets highlight the slut-shaming culture we tolerated

Chrissy Teigen is the queen of oversharing. Usually it’s in good humour, self-deprecating and irreverent. She doesn’t take herself too...

By Amanda Cassidy

Sleep cycle during Covid-19
EDITORIAL
How to get your sleep schedule back on track during lockdown, according to a sleep technologist

Many of us are struggling to maintain a healthy sleep cycle during Covid-19, explains sleep technologist Breege Leddy. But there are...

By Katie Byrne

Mandy Moore pumping
EDITORIAL
Mandy Moore climbed an active volcano at dawn… while pumping

Hiking a mountain and breast pumping – now, that’s what we call multitasking at its finest. Mandy Moore enjoyed an...

By Sarah Finnan

blank
EDITORIAL
I’ve been ugly and beautiful and the difference is depressing

When I was 12 I wrote a story about two girls who were best friends. One girl, the main character,...

By Sophie White

blank
EDITORIAL
The Howth train attack represents a lawlessness that makes me fear for my daughters

I fear the true fallout of Covid on our cities is just getting started, writes Amanda Cassidy As the pandemic...

By Amanda Cassidy