Sport Ireland has announced details of a multi-year investment of over €3m in national governing bodies of sport through the re-launched Women in Sport Programme.

It brings Sport Ireland's investment in Women in Sport for 2019 and 2020 to €3,277,000 after the €265,000 allocated to Local Sports Partnerships earlier this year.

The announcement follows the publication of Sport Ireland's new Policy on Women in Sport earlier this year.

The Policy on Women in Sport identifies Coaching and Officiating, Active Participation, Leadership and Governance and Visibility as four key target areas, with National Governing Bodies invited to apply for funding under these themes.

"One of the key objectives of the Government’s National Sports Policy is to increase the number of women and girls participating in sport and to eliminate the participation gradient between men and women," Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin TD said speaking at the announcement at the Sport Ireland Campus in Blanchardstown.

"While the gender gradient, at 4.5%, is narrower now than at any point over the past ten years, it is important that this gradient is eliminated altogether."

"Sport Ireland's new Women in Sport Policy and the re-launched Women in Sport Programme is essential in this regard.

"I want to pay a particular tribute to our high profile sportswomen who continue to inspire and encourage thousands of girls and young women throughout Ireland every day to become involved in sport and to stay involved."

A key aim of the Women in Sport programme is to have equal participation between males and females in sport.

The gender gradient in sports participation has closed from 15.7% to 4.5% since 2007 according to the most recent Irish Sports Monitor in 2017.

Chair of the Sport Ireland Women in Sport Steering Group Lynne Cantwell says the funding will bring policy for women’s sport "to life" and will tackle more than simply participation.

"While active participation remains vitally important, in line with the Women in Sport Policy Sport Ireland encouraged funded bodies to look at other areas of involvement as well.

"The funding process has seen National Governing Bodies embrace projects focussed on developing leadership opportunities, and pathways to coaching and officiating. This holistic approach will lead to a step-change in the landscape for women’s involvement in sport across the board from grassroots to leadership."

"That fact that the Women in Sport funding programme was oversubscribed demonstrates the buy-in from the sector to make a meaningful impact," says Sport Ireland Chief Executive, John Treacy.

"With the publication of the Sport Ireland Women in Sport Policy, the appointment of Nora Stapleton as Women in Sport Lead and the re-launched Women in Sport Programme, we will look to substantially increase the number of women and girls getting involved in sport."