We believe that our unique collaboration can provide an effective working partnership to make the greatest impact. Our primary aim is to work strategically with a wide range of partners and key stakeholders to raise the profile of girls and women in sport and physical activity in four key areas identified during our consultation process. Specifically targeting the development of female focused campaigns, projects and programmes in these four areas will underpin an increase in participation rates by women and girls across Northern Ireland. The four key areas are:
- Media – Increasing the visibility of female success
Our consultation findings show that there is a need to focus on raising the profile of women’s sport within the media, and celebrate the success of our female athletes. We know that we can use the increased visibility of female success at national and international level to lever growth in community participation. Better use of media will also help eliminate the perceived justification of a ‘lack of knowledge or opportunity’ as a reason for not being more active.
We will create marketing and communication messages that resonate with our aspiration for females to be Active, Fit and Sporty. Our ambition is to impact on female participation by making the most of social and cultural shifts which show the attractiveness to women of being healthy, strong and athletic.
- Leadership –Driving cultural change to involve more females in leadership roles
Growing our female participation base needs more coaches, referees, officials and volunteers across all levels of sport and physical activity.
We are particularly interested in the development of our young people as future leaders, innovators and creators of relevant and appealing opportunities for female sport.
It is imperative that we not only strive to increase the workforce but ensure we look after our current workforce, provide opportunities for training and skill development, recognise their ongoing commitment to sport and support through active mentoring programmes.
- Role Models – Inspiring Role Models can have a significant impact on participation
While some of our best ambassadors and role models are those involved in sport at a high level, we also recognise that identifying and promoting role models from all parts of our society is equally as important – think of your PE teacher, your coach, your friend – all influencers in how active we might or might not be.
We aim to create a network of local and national role models to help connect communities, and work together to address any negative barriers or stereotypes.
- Research & Evaluation – Providing an evidence base to support extending the reach of sport and physical activity.
We re-affirm the need to carry out appropriate research to determine the female participation rates in sports and physical activities and the barriers preventing women from making the active choice to participate.
We also commit to learning from research and evaluation by reviewing and acting on recommendations and research findings by being ready to act.
Our consultation events reinforced the importance of prioritising these 4 key areas and the need to develop an action plan with a research, policy and practice focus to support an increase in female participation. By supporting the creation of new, relevant and innovative ways of packaging and promoting opportunities for being more active – we will make participating in sport and physical activity a more relevant and appealing offer for women and girls.