A new Irish campaign has been launched called 20×20 which aims to create a cultural shift in the way we perceive girls and women sports in Ireland.
Together with the Federation of Irish Sports, various national governing bodies and local sports partnership, 20×20 was officially launched on Monday 15th of October.
The initiative’s goal is to see a 20% increase in participation, media coverage and attendance in female sports by the year 2020.
“The overall objective is for us to show girls and women’s sports as being something strong, valuable and worth celebrating and to eradicate what is a deeply ingrained bias in the Irish society,” said Sarah Colgan from Along Came A Spider, the content marketing agency that originated the campaign.
Speaking to TheCity.ie, Colgan explains how the idea came about: “At the end of last year, I was rushing on a frantic Saturday morning with my kids to the local sports club and my daughter, who was six, was moaning about not wanting to go. I was fully on autopilot and in my head, I was like ‘fine I’ll just enrol her for drama but there is no way I’m letting her brother give up [sport].’
“But I caught myself in that moment and decided on a new approach, to really encourage her and she is loving it now. I know that kind of bias I had in my own son and daughter exists on a much wider level, where I would have encouraged him more when it came to sport than her. When I witnessed a difference – she is absolutely mad about it now – I just think one of the big messages is around parents, as well, and the role that they play in encouraging girls, as well as boys.”
The campaign launch event was held on Monday in partnership with Google. Casey Stoney, the new head coach for the Manchester United senior team was keynote speaker, while a live panel discussion also took place.
The initiative has gained much media attention since its starting date, with its campaign video being watched more than 95,000 times.
“We are thrilled with the reaction, as a subject it is something that we feel personally passionate about. [The last] nine months we’ve worked really closely with Mary O’ Connor, the CEO of Federation of Irish Sport, and it’s also a subject she’s very passionate about. I think having the sponsors made it possible … that was key to be able to get the message out there. I think if we came [up] with this five years ago it might have been slightly too early and probably if we [did this in a] couple of years we might be a bit late. The time is right to galvanise Irish society,” said Colgan.