In 2005, research conducted by the ESRI for the Irish Sports Council revealed that less than one in five Irish women came close to conducting the accumulated 30 minutes of physical activity per day, for at least five days per week, as recommended by the World Health Organisation for good health. It was outlined that more than three quarters of Irish women do some recreational physical activity such as walking, swimming or aerobics, but that the majority do so with insufficient regularity or intensity of effort to meet the minimum standard. Over 20 per cent do so little that from a health point of view they can be considered sedentary. The importance of women's participation in sport is well recognised by the Irish Sports Council having completed a large body of research into the subject. It was clear from that research that initiatives needed to be put in place to promote greater participation in sport and physical activity by women.
The 'Women in Sport Initiative' launched by the Irish Sports Council in 2005 also set out to address findings that the involvement of girls and women in sport and physical activity at school age and in adult life has tended to be much less than that of their male counterparts."The 'Women in Sport Initiative' was developed to address the differences that exist between women's and men's interaction with sport, with patterns of volunteering an interesting area of analysis. The overarching objectives of the Women in Sport programme have been to raise overall physical activity levels among women and to support women's roles within sports organisations.
Funding dedicated to the Women in Sport programme has increased year on year from €750K in 2005 to €2.2 million in 2008. Most of this funding is targeted towards programmes rolled out by both National Governing Bodies of Sport and Local Sports Partnerships as the delivery agents for sport and physical activity for the Irish Sports Council. There has been a tremendous amount of goodwill and support for the Women in Sport Programme from both sporting organisations and participants alike.
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