More women needed in sports leadership roles, says minister

Jack Chambers warned that organisations may face gender quotas in the years to come if a target of 40 per cent by 2023 is missed
More women needed in sports leadership roles, says minister

By Dominic McGrath, PA

Women will need to make up 40 per cent of the leadership of sporting organisations by 2023, under new plans announced by the Government.

Sports Minister Jack Chambers warned that organisations may face gender quotas in the years to come if that target is missed.

“We’re setting a target of 40 per cent minimum of both genders on boards of sporting organisations, which is reflective of our policy in the state,” he said at the launch of the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media’s sports action plan on Monday.

“If we, as a Government, are supporting sporting organisations, it’s important that they’re reflective of broader society, and that’s why a new target is being set today.

“Many sporting organisations have made progress in this area – in fact, many exceed 40 per cent – but there are a number that are lagging way behind.

“Go to any club on a Saturday or Sunday morning – you see huge participation of girls and women. It is important that the leadership of these organisations are reflective of broader society.

“And I think balanced boards will lead to better decision-making in sport, and that’s something we’re anxious to deliver on as part of this plan.”

The action plan states: “Support will be provided for dedicated leadership training programmes for women, including governance-related and technical training.”

Sports Ireland will be charged with monitoring progress in boosting the representation of women, with the document saying it will “report annually on whether additional measures such as gender quotas are warranted”.

As part of the plan, Mr Chambers will also oversee the publication of a “major events strategy” which would aim to bring major international tournaments to Ireland – including the 2030 Fifa World Cup and the T20 Cricket World Cup.

He said the Irish Government is currently planning to spend €2 million on its joint bid with the UK government for the 2030 World Cup.

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