20×20 is a new campaign aimed at creating a measurable cultural shift in the presentation and perception of Women’s sport in Ireland.
It is a broad-based approach with three key metrics in mind to boost media coverage, attendance at key events and participation each by 20 per cent between now and 2020.
The campaign was launched this morning at the Google Foundry in Dublin and is an initiative driven by the Federation of Irish Sport and originated and developed by the creative agency Along Came A Spider.
Mary O’Connor and Roddy Guiney as CEO and Chairman of the Federation have been the driving force behind the campaign, working closely with Sarah Colgan and Heather Thornton of creative agency Along Came a Spider.
It will be championed by Ireland’s National Governing Bodies of Sport and Local Sports Partnerships, and is being backed by 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.
A host of Irish female sporting heroes including Louise Quinn (Irish International and Arsenal Footballer and Three’s Ambassador for 20×20), Sarah Rowe (Mayo Senior Ladies Footballer and Lidl’s Ambassador for 20×20), Laura Twomey (Dublin Senior Camogie Player and AIG’s Ambassador for 20×20) as well as Irish professional golfers Leona Maguire (KPMG’s Ambassador for 20×20) and Stephanie Meadow (Investec’s Ambassador for 20×20), joined forces with Head Coach of Manchester United Women and former England Women’s National Football player, Casey Stoney MBE, to lend their support to the 20×20 campaign.
They were joined by the CEO of Swim Ireland Sarah Keane, 18 Time All-Ireland Cork Camogie and Ladies Football Champion Rena Buckley, Irish Women’s Hockey Head Coach Graham Shaw, Olympian and leading Horse Trainer Jessica Harrington as well as Sport Ireland CEO, John Treacy to discuss the campaign which has the overarching objective of inspiring Ireland to culturally embrace women in sport, so that they can become part of who we are and what we follow.
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.
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 creating five short films on different themes that impact on women in sport.
The first of these will be available to view here as well as on the campaign’s social channels later this morning.
Individuals are being asked to share their pledge idea by visiting the 20×20 Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages on social media.
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.
Research commissioned by 20×20 and conducted by Nielsen as part of the campaign found that significantly less than 20% of all media coverage is dedicated to women’s or 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.
“It is true that women’s sport in Ireland receives less recognition and acclaim and as a consequence is undervalued broadly in Irish society,” said Federation of Irish Sport CEO Mary O’Connor speaking this morning.
“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.”
“Sport provides such incredible opportunities,” said Casey Stoney, Head Coach of Manchester United Women and former England Women’s National Football player.
“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.”
“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 per cent 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.”