St Abban’s Athletic Club: Women in Sport Profile

St Abban’s Athletic Club is situated in an idyllic, unspoiled, and beautiful part of Ireland, nestled in between the counties of Carlow, Laois, and Kilkenny. Since the club’s foundation in 1955, the club has promoted male and female athletes equally.

However, with the increase in awareness for women in sport, we as a club want to do more. The 20x20 campaign, Her Sport, and the increased support provided by Athletics Ireland has given this more exposure than ever before, and the club now has the platform and opportunity to do more for their female athletes. At St. Abban’s, we continue to grow and evolve, and below we have detailed what we are currently doing for women in sport.

We have formed a sub-committee, and our mission statement is to encourage women of all ages to participate and have fun in our sport, and to feel connected and apart of the community that surrounds them in St. Abban’s. After attending the “Retaining Girls in Sport” workshop, we identified that the retention of girls aged 12-21 in our club is an area where we could make a visible impact.

We will be hosting post session meet ups which will be led by our senior female athletes, and this will offer the younger females a chance to create relationships with those who have navigated successfully through the juvenile ranks. We hope that these events will encourage the young women to stay in the sport, give them an opportunity to talk through any doubts or concerns they are having, and provide insights to the work ethic and dedication of senior club members. We believe that this approach to excellence in sport translates to excellence and satisfaction in our daily lives.

We have also increased the number of female coaches in the club, while highlighting to male coaches the importance of being aware of recent findings which were outlined in the “Retaining Girls in Sport” workshop. We understand the importance of ensuring that St. Abban’s has an inclusive training environment for young women, and our male coaches are committed to doing what is necessary to encourage and understand the needs of our female athletes. Additionally, we plan to deliver a talk to female athletes aged 12-16 in September, and this will be given by the senior females in our club. The talk will discuss issues around health and nutrition, positive body image, puberty, life-sport balance, and the value of sport in enriching our lives.

Long term, St. Abban’s will continue to run additional events and activities, which will foster and increase female participation in the sport at all levels. We want girls to understand that sport is for everyone of all ages, and that it can bring them so much fun, health, and happiness over the course of their lives.



European Athletics Female Leadership Webinar Project 

Athletics Ireland are delighted to announce the recent development of our new Gender Leadership Webinar Project as part of a continuous commitment to upskilling future female leaders within the sport.

This course has been developed in conjunction with European Athletics.

Athletics Ireland and Sport Ireland have put in place several educational measures to support women in the development of their leadership skills, such as the Forerunners programme, and The Girls Squad. We want to continue the progress we have made as a federation and offer flexible learning opportunities to our current and future leaders of the sport, which is why we are working in conjunction with European Athletics to solidify our commitment to all our women.

European Athletics hosted a Gender Leadership Moderator seminar to the Member Federations at the end of 2019 which has led to a growing international network of female leaders, ready to deliver Gender Leadership seminars themselves in their respective federations.

15 participating countries are taking part in the project and moderators from the member federations will deliver the material.  This is being delivered by Lilly-Ann O’Hora, Women in Sport Officer and 10 participants from Ireland were invited to participate as they were identified as key stakeholders to the federation. The participants involved are current staff members from development to HP, coach developers and tutors, board members, Olympians, current athletes, and emerging practitioners that are actively engaged in our current and future programmes.

Women in Sport Officer, Lilly-Ann O’Hora said:

“This is a fantastic opportunity to connect both our current and future leaders of the sport but also an opportunity to begin critical to conversations on how we can align the programmes and services of AAI to support all our members!

“Thanks to the support and guidance of European Athletics, we can truly start a European-wide leadership movement to embrace the involvement of women in athletics. 

“There is immense power and opportunity when we gather like this, to learn and collaborate , all with a collective vision to encourage the growth of ourselves and our sport.”

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