Policy and Practice: Women in Sport in Ireland – What has changed?

White, Julia (2019) Policy and Practice: Women in Sport in Ireland – What has changed? Masters thesis, Waterford Institute of Technology.

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Abstract

Purpose. The purpose of this study is to analyse Irish sports policies and strategy documents in relation to women’s sport in Ireland and to use a case study approach to track the evolution, formation and impact of the WGPA in order to provide an up-to-date, detailed and accurate account of the structures, policy, roles and developments since the Women in Sport Report 2004 (WISR) (Oireachtas, 2004). Methods. A macro-meso-micro frame analysis was used for this research, whereby the topic was studied from all three levels of analysis. The ‘action research case study’ structure was considered best for the overarching methodology due to its flexibility, complimentary nature of case studies to action research and the necessity of the WGPA research to be studied in perspective and applied to the wider context of women in sport (WIS) in Ireland. Quantitative data was yielded by the participants’ completion of a questionnaire, which generated a picture of the reality of being a female intercounty player in 2017. The questionnaire allowed for the analysis of the impacts that the WGPA has had on members since inception and areas that need addressing in relation to the evolution of the organisation. The questionnaire assisted with the identification of issues, trends and patterns in both camogie and ladies football. Qualitative research consisted of semi-structured interviews with stakeholders and document analysis of policies relating to WIS in Ireland and focus group interviews with WGPA members. Attendance at meetings, content analysis of meeting minutes, field notes, and content analysis of websites and social media platforms were used to compliment the data gathered and to construct the timelines and mini case studies interspersed throughout the study. Results. While there have been many improvements in the area of WIS in Ireland in recent years, very few of the developments were as a result of policy. Appropriately implemented policy, underpinned by adequate funding is essential for the development of WIS in Ireland. Any new policy such as the Sport Ireland Policy on Women in Sport (SIPWIS) needs to be reviewed, monitored and evaluated regularly. The WGPA has had a positive impact overall and has evolved considerably since its inception. A greater number of players identify as elite athletes and players cited increased recognition for their efforts because of increased media coverage of games, player of the month/year/all-star trip initiatives, and promotion of role models and advocates. Players have highlighted increased on and off field support through government grants, mentoring and counselling services, as benefits of WGPA membership. Conclusion. As a starting point for policy formation, research is required in several areas. The positive impact of the WGPA has been felt by players and observed by government funding agencies, policy makers and National Governing Bodies (NGBs) of sport both within and outside of women’s Gaelic games. Initiatives such as educating the player on the importance of the player role, the creation of more role models, illustrating the commitment of the players, campaigns for increased visibility and strategies aimed at expanding partnerships to increase revenue, are integral to the future of the WGPA and women’s sport in Ireland. Cross collaboration between bodies such as the WGPA, NGBs and government agencies can aid further advancements for WIS in Ireland at every level.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Women in Sport
Departments or Groups: *NONE OF THESE*
Divisions: School of Health Sciences > Department of Health, Sport and Exercise Studies
Depositing User: Derek Langford
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2020 13:43
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2020 13:43
URI: http://repository.wit.ie/id/eprint/3467

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