LEONA SIGNS UP TO 20×20, A NEW INITIATIVE FOR WOMEN IN SPORT

  • Campaign sets target of 20% more media coverage of women in sport, 20% more female participation and 20% more attendance at women’s competitions and events by 2020
  • New campaign-specific research by Nielsen shows how poorly women’s sport is covered across the media spectrum
  • 50% of global population is female yet only 0.4% of global sponsorship spend is directed towards women’s sport
  • Gap between female and male participation is narrowing but lack of visibility contributes to a shortage of role models that are key to greater participation

Leona Maguire and Modest Golf Management are delighted to confirm today that Leona will be an ambassador for 20X20. The campaign, championed by Ireland’s National Governing Bodies and Local Sports Partnerships, is calling on the people of Ireland and all those involved in Irish sport and physical activity to get behind female sport in a concerted effort to increase media coverage, boost attendances and ultimately, grow involvement in female sport and physical activity by 20% by the end of 2020.

National Governing Bodies, Local Sports Partnerships, clubs, universities, schools, leisure centres, community groups and the general public are being asked to pledge one action to show their support by doing anything that can accelerate progress for women’s sport in Ireland and realise the key objectives. Individuals are being asked to share their pledge idea by visiting the 20×20 Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. People can also show their support by simply putting the two 20×20 stripes on both cheeks and posting using #20×20, #ShowYourStripes and #CantSeeCantBe online.

International strategies and research reports, which aim to improve female participation, acknowledge that the shortage of female role models is a significant factor. 20×20 will showcase the range and breadth of Irish females involved in sport.  As part of this Along Came A Spider are to create five short films on different themes that impact on women in sport. The first of these is now available to view on www.20×20.ie as well as on the campaign’s social channels.

The campaign has been made possible due to generous support from AIG, Investec, KPMG, Lidl and Three all of whom are already significant and committed supporters of women’s sport through their sponsorships of Dublin GAA, Women’s Professional Golf, the Ladies Gaelic Football Association, National Football League and the Ireland Senior Women’s National Football Team.

Research commissioned by 20×20 and conducted by Nielsen as part of the campaign found that significantly less than 20% of all media coverage of sport relates to women’s sport and mixed sport. RTÉ Sport, Off The Ball (Newstalk), SportsJOE and Her.ie are also early supporters of the campaign as Media Partners and significantly have each committed to increasing their own coverage of women in sport by 20% over the course of the initiative.

Leona confirmed “I’m thrilled to be KPMGs 20×20  ambassador and I’m very proud to be involved in this hugely worthwhile initiative that will benefit girls and women in sport across Ireland at every level.”

“Having role models was very important for me when I began playing golf. I believe 20×20 will do a lot to promote real life examples that women and girls can aspire to and learn from and that’s incredibly valuable – so well done to KPMG and all of the 20×20 supporters.”

CEO of the Federation of Irish Sport, Mary O’Connor said; “It is true that women’s sport in Ireland receives less recognition and acclaim and as a consequence is undervalued broadly in Irish society. The aim of the 20×20 movement is to give increased profiling to girls and women involved in sport at all levels. We want this campaign to stimulate behavioural change to ensure that subsequent generations have female role models to emulate as athletes, coaches and referees. We aim, through the 20×20 campaign, to showcase the importance and positive influence sport and physical activity has on girls by increasing media coverage and increasing attendances at competitions and events.”

Casey Stoney, Head Coach of Manchester United Women and former England Women’s National Football player; “Sport provides such incredible opportunities. As a young girl I was told that football was just for boys and yet, I went on to play 130 times for England including at World Cups, European Championships and even representing GB at the London 2012 Olympics. I now find myself as Head Coach of Manchester United’s first women’s team. I firmly believe our 21 players will be history makers and as the biggest football club in the world can truly transform women’s football not just in England but around the globe. It is so important that girls and women have role models to whom they can relate. It is for this reason that I was so excited and delighted to get the opportunity to come and lend my support for the launch of 20×20. I believe if supported by all involved in sport it really could be a landmark moment for sport in this country.”

Sarah Colgan, CEO Along Came A Spider added; “By increasing the visibility of women’s sport, whether through increased coverage, attendances or participation, we make it a greater part of our culture. We’re a proud nation of sport lovers and have a huge amount to gain by fully embracing the sport of 50% of our population. By clubs giving greater parity to female teams, schools creating new opportunities for girls in sport, sports fans attending women’s events and parents encouraging their daughters, we’re hoping everyone will pledge one action to grow women’s sport in Ireland.”