Women in Sport- Donore Harriers AC
At Donore Harriers AC our aim is to raise awareness of issues relating to women’s sport throughout the whole club – coaches, athletes, parents. We have put a particular focus on ensuring that the voices of our young athletes are heard within the club. We are committed to ensuring that the young athletes in our club have a part to play in developing a vision for Donore Harriers in 2021, and going forward. It is paramount that we listen carefully to the voices of our younger athletes and that our work at committee level is informed by their vision of the future. We want to ensure that our female athletes have a voice, feel listened to, and feel supported to reach their goals in this sport, whatever level that might be at.
Our most recent activity was a Panel Discussion on issues in women’s sport. Guest speaks Caitríona Jennings, Dr. Úna Britton, and Donore Harrier AC members Sorcha Loughnane and Honor Lynch made up the panel. These four women are representative of the wider female membership in Donore, and were invited to become because of their own experiences as female athletes and for their individual perspectives on a number of issues relating to women in sport. The poster for the event illustrates the depth and breadth of knowledge, experience and insight that each woman has to offer to this important discussion.
The main issues raised were visibility in women’s sport, negative gender stereotyping, overcoming challenges as a woman in sport, and how best to progress as a club. The event was very well attended by our own members in Donore Harriers and also by some of our running friends from nearby clubs. The participants and the panellists engaged very successfully in dialogue around a number of contentious issues, and while we were clear from the outset that our aim was not to ‘solve’ anything by running this event, what we did hope to do, was to bring awareness to, and start a conversation about, a number of important issues. We believe that we did this successfully, and that the conversation is only beginning!
We have also had a number of other events over recent months. We had a very successful event hosted by Katie Kirk, who spoke to our female athletes about a number of issues relating to RED-S Syndrome, and how to keep our bodies and our minds fuelled and well to ensure life-long participation in sport. Katie was a just brilliant – knowledgeable, experienced and research-based. She inspired our next event – the Body Positive Club Culture Poster Campaign. We encouraged all members of the club to design a poster with a slogan that promoted a ‘Body Positive’ club culture. The purpose of this was to raise awareness of the impact of language that is used often flippantly in sports clubs in relation to body image. Below you can see some of the posters that our members designed.
Our other event for International Women’s Day was a wonderful evening hosted by our very own International Super-Woman extraordinaire – Ann Woodlock. Ann spoke to members about her own experience as a woman in sport, the trials and tribulations, the successes, the challenges and the pure joy of her journey in sport. Ann spoke about the doors opened by athletics, the opportunities to travel, to stay well, to build relationships and to stay connected. She was inspirational and we are so very grateful to have Ann as a shining light, not just to our young athletes, but to us all. She represents life-long participation and enjoyment of sport for all of us in Donore Harriers AC – something that is at the very core of all that we endeavour to do.
Ann’s talk was followed up by a fascinating look back at the history of women in Donore Harriers that was presented by Anne and Florence Curley. Anne and Florrie took us for a walk through the history books, and reminded us of all of the incredible, strong and determined women who blazed the trail for the rest of us. Our eyes were opened to the many inspirational achievements of the women who paved the way for us!
Who is involved?
We have put together a brilliant committee of female athletes, representing all sections of the club. We have been hugely supported by the wider club also – in particular coach Graham Hopkins, President Charlie O’Neill and Ladies Captain Florence Curley. Our members include:
- Sinéad Lambe
- Faith Hopkins
- Amandine Devine
- Ciara O’Donnell
- Fran Walsh
- Honor Lynch
- Lara O’Byrne
- Leonie and Robyn Newman
- Laura Nunan
- Suzy Henley Willis
- Lauren O'Flaherty