All-Ireland heroes urge women to take reins in coaching
Two GAA heroes are calling for women to back themselves and take the reins in sports coaching and management roles.
It comes as a survey found that 68pc of people believe more female sports coaches would encourage young women to participate in sport. However, the Red C research, carried out for Liberty Insurance, also found that Irish females are more visible in coaching and administration roles in sports clubs, compared to their peers in the UK.
But men make up the majority of female sports spectators. It found 44pc of men watched a female sports event in the last 12 months, compared to 31pc of women.
Eighteen time All-Ireland winning Cork dual star Rena Buckley and her fellow All Ireland winner Cliodhna O'Connor said women need to encourage each other.
Ms O'Connor, who played for Naomh Mearnóg and the Dublin senior ladies' football team, picking up awards for her performances as Dublin goalkeeper in 2004 and 2009, said it is important for young women to have role models in such positions.
"I would say we have to back ourselves a bit more. If we see there is a coaching job we should go for it, especially if it's a women's team," she told the Irish Independent.
"Traditionally it's been male dominated," said Ms O'Connor, who went into coaching after her playing career. "If I go to a coaching conference with 100 people in the room, maybe there would be five of us there."
The situation is changing at grassroots level said Ms O'Connor, however female coaches at the elite level are still few. While 40pc of the survey respondents said all professional male sports teams should be required to interview at least one female candidate for the position of coach or manager if one is available, Ms O'Connor wasn't convinced of this.
"I'm not sure where I stand on that positive discrimination. It's about competency," she said.
Ms Buckley was also unsure about positive discrimination but strongly supported the call for more women coaches.
"There's a lot of research done in business as well as in sport, having diversity there can lead to better decision making," she said.