This International Women’s Day MyLocalPitch.com jumped at the opportunity to speak with the woman behind one of the most positive forces in women’s sport in Ireland, sportswomen.ie. Sharon Hutchinson gave us the low down on the creation of sportswomen.ie, it’s mission to “support, promote, and report” on women’s sport, and it’s plans for the upcoming year:
2015 was a busy year for the creator (or Chief Bottlewasher as she likes to be known) of sportswomen.ie, Sharon Hutchinson. Just celebrating 1 year in business in January, sportswomen.ie has gone from strength to strength.
Noticing that the coverage of women’s sport in the national media was severely lacking, Sharon set up sportswomen.ie to help promote, support, and report on women’s sport in Ireland on the 5th January 2015.
A former international goalkeeper with the Irish Hockey Team, Sharon believes with more coverage of women’s sport in the national media, it will help to normalise girls and women playing and participating in sport. “If you can see it, you can be it”. Sharon also believes that sportswomen.ie is part of a movement helping to nudge the powers that be to increase their coverage of sport featuring women. This nudge has the Irish Times dedicating a section every Thursday to “Women in Sport”, a new women’s sports podcast called FAIR GAME has recently gone live and with the likes of LIDL and Continental Tyres rowing in behind women’s sport in a major way we can only wait and see what the long term effects will be.
With continued growth in the right direction, keeping teenage girls in sport and exercise for longer may be the great benefactor. While sport’s coverage is still hugely dominated by men and in particular by GAA, rugby, soccer, golf and horse racing, it is only fair we acknowledge the great achievements and feats of Ireland’s female athletes. Like their male counterparts, Ireland’s elite female athletes are making huge sacrifices for their sport, training hard and representing their club, county and country to the best of their ability.
Since the site went live sportswomen.ie has won the Cork Digital Marketing Award for the Best Website with Under 10 Employees, it won Bronze Award in the Irish Blog Awards 2015 with a blog in partnership with Helly Hansen as well as being nominated for the inaugural Irish Sport Industry Awards for the Best Innovation, which was a great honour for the website. Another huge boost for Sharon in 2015 was the announcement that she made the top 50 in the Sport for Business “Most Influential Women in Irish Sport 2015” list. A massive achievement in such a short space of time.
One of the highlights of 2015 for Sharon was to be invited by the Minister of Equality, Aodhain O’Riordain, to speak at a Women in Sport Conference in Dublin Castle and talk about one of her favourite subjects “The importance of role models and increasing the visibility of women and girls in sport in Ireland “.
In April Kilcooly’s Country House Hotel in Ballybunion will host the Women in Media 2016 weekend where a host of remarkable speakers will gather and for the first time there will be a Women in Sport session, chaired by Sharon and joined by speakers Cliona O’Leary of RTE, Fiona Coghlan (past Irish Rugby Captain), Anne McCarthy of Sport Ireland, and Emily Glen (co-host of the new podcast Fair Game). It promises to be a great weekend in Kerry and will give people living in that part of the country a great opportunity to attend such a high profile event.
While Sharon doesn’t know where sportswomen.ie will take her in the long run, she has enjoyed every minute of getting to know the many great female athletes Ireland has produced in recent years. sportswomen.ie has featured well over 30 different sports and is always on the look out for a good story whatever the sport. So if you have a good story email Sharon at firstname.lastname@example.org and if you haven’t seen the website check it out here.
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BY - Finn Mongey
8 March 2016