Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

International Women’s Day: 20×20 Movement Shining A Light On Irish Women’s Sports

Posted on 6 March 2020 by Muireann Duffy

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2020 is a pivotal year in Ireland for women’s sport.

After a two year campaign, the 20×20 movement will draw to a close, having pushed for greater participation, attendance and coverage for women’s sports.

The message was clear, this is not women supporting women, this is a whole society effort.

Players, teams, coaches, parents, journalists, media organisations, teachers, schools and businesses- every realm of Irish life was called upon to get behind the initiative.

The Irish women’s hockey team have championed the 20×20 cause, embodying everything the campaign stands for.

They have shown that Irish people are interested in women’s sports: they want to go to matches and they want to see women’s sports on television.

They have also demonstrated that female athletes are immensely talented and they’re wonderful role models for both boys and girls.

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Irish midfielder, Roisin Upton has seen the positive impact the 20×20 campaign has made and how representation and visibility is everything:

“I think there was probably a notion there before [20×20] that people didn’t care about women’s sport, but I think at the World Cup last year, when women’s sport was on television, people were watching,” says Upton.

With the Irish women’s team’s recent success, qualifying for the Olympics for the first time, Upton feels that the support they have received across the board has contributed to their success.

“It’s across everything- it’s the media promoting it more. The media outlets need to know that people do care about women’s sport and people want to know more.

“It’s people coming out to the games. It’s also big companies like SoftCo and Park Development [the Irish women’s team’s sponsors] that have supported us by coming aboard and giving the underdog a chance and shown belief in us,” says the Limerick woman.

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“This past year has been huge for women in sport and it’s only been getting bigger and bigger. We’re in no way competing with male sports, but we’re on the rise and it’s fantastic.

“We’ll welcome everyone onto our bandwagon for supporting our team, because it not only helps women in sport, but it is also great to have the backing of a nation,” adds Upton.