Demand for a national policy and equal opportunities for women and girls in sport.

The Council for the Status of Women (CSW) is calling for the government to re-establish Cospóir, the National Sports Council, with equal sports opportunities for women a priority.

These demands are being made following the publication of a report by the Physical Education Association of Ireland (PEAI) highlighting the poor performance of women in this area.

The CSW and the PEAI both say there is an urgent need for the Minister for Sport Frank Fahey to take women’s involvement in sport more seriously.

They want to see his department introduce an equality policy for sporting organisations such as the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) and the Football Association of Ireland (FAI). They also want physical education teachers in primary schools.

Chief executive of the CSW Carmel Foley would like to see women’s sporting organisations getting an equal share of the Department of Education’s £15 million, which she points out is tax payers money.

We’re just looking for fair play, we’re looking for the Minister to level the playing pitch in this instance.

According to the CSW, four out of every 10 women are involved in sport, usually once a week. Ger Murphy of the PEAI says 51% of the population are women, and the non participation in sport by such a large cohort is a problem area.

Now that the problem has been identified, there’s got to be a will there to do something about it and a national sports policy of course could lay that down.

The CSW say up until now women have been peripheral in sport and this situation will only change when the government bring in a policy.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 6 May 1991. The reporter is Lorna Donlon.