Sport Ireland Women In Sport

  • Nora Stapleton
  • Elizabeth Loughren (Sport Ireland)


The challenges facing women and girls in sport have a long history and many interventions to address these challenges have occurred over the years. It is well documented that these challenges no longer simply apply to female’s active participation in sport and physical activity but through all aspects of the sporting landscape, i.e. coaching, officiating, leadership, governance and visibility. Though time has seen improvements naturally, Sport Ireland financial support and dedicated women in sport programmes developed as a result have had positive impacts which are explored in this paper.Using information gathered through the work of Sport Ireland, its databases, commissioned reports, dedicated policies and via reports from National Governing Bodies and Local Sports Partnerships, this paper provides a more detailed insight into the history of the Sport Ireland Women in Sport programme as well as other areas that impact women and girls in sport. It tracks the evolution of the programme since the inception of funding in 2005 to how it is managed today, as well as outlining some of Sport Ireland’s current Women in Sport (WiS) projects. In order to give a full overview, information is also contained on the history of funding allocated to female High Performance athletes in Ireland. Since the establishment of funding in 2005, the WiS programme set out to, and has successfully, reduced the gap in sports participation levels between men and women. It has now grown to much more than a participation programme with the launch of a policy providing strategic direction to ensure women have equal opportunity across all areas of sport. Now the same attention and commitment is shifting to coaching, officiating, leadership, governance and visibility. The availability of funding for women in sport is an important feature of the Sport Ireland Women in Sport programme. With over €22m awarded to date, NGBs, LSPs and women and girls in society will continue to benefit from monetary grants received. While it is acknowledged that there is a lot more to do to ensure parity amongst males and females in the sporting landscape, it is the view that the work of Sport Ireland through its WiS programme continues to benefit society and is making grounds in areas where inequality, might still occur.

Keywords: Women in Sport, Sport Ireland, National Governing Bodies, Local Sports Partnerships, Policy, Funding

How to Cite:

Stapleton, N. & Loughren, E., (2021) “Sport Ireland Women In Sport”, Studies in Arts and Humanities 7(1), 172-189. doi:

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Published on
03 Jun 2021
Peer Reviewed