The Federation of Irish Sport has launched a new campaign, titled ‘20×20’. The objectives of the campaign are to increase media coverage, participation and attendance at women’s sporting events by 20% by the year 2020. The campaign, which is being supported by RTÉ Sport, is warmly welcomed due to the lack of investment and support given to women’s sporting teams in Ireland. The recent success of the Irish Women’s Hockey team, who were given no state funding and whose World Cup media coverage was minimal, shone a light on how women sports stars and sporting events have been overshadowed by male athletes and their success.
The campaign was launched in Google Headquarters, Dublin and included a list of panellists such as Cork GAA star Rena Buckley, who was recently at the centre of a shocking revelation. Buckley, who has won eighteen All-Ireland medals across both hurling and football, spoke about how she was invited to present medals to an U14 Ladies Football team who won the championship, and the U12 boys team. However, she was pulled aside and told that the GAA team didn’t want her to hand the boys their medals, and that she would just present to the girls team. Instead she was replaced by a local man. This story poses the question, “Would she have been turned away if she was a man with eighteen ‘All-Ireland’ winning medals in his back pocket?”.
A video was launched alongside the campaign with the slogan ‘If she can’t see it, she can’t be it’. The video contains a group of young Irish girls candidly speaking about what it’s like playing sport in Ireland. When they are asked about their sporting heroes are, they answer with the likes of Pogba and Rory McIlroy. However when asked about their female heroes, one girl simply states: “I don’t really know any of the girls so…”. This highlights the need for women idols for the young girls of Ireland and the only way for this to happen is with more investment and more media coverage.
You can follow the campaign on twitter by using the hashtags #20X20, #CantSeeCantBe and #ShowYourStripes on Twitter.