Women and Girls Research

Following the launch of the Navigating the Future strategy, where there is a clear focus on ‘Improving diversity’ in the sport, we set about better understanding the lived experiences of current or past sailors and boaters. Following the completion of the research, which was led by independent researcher, Emma Vickers, we are inviting you to attend a webinar on the 26th July at 7pm, where we will share the findings and recommendations. The webinar is open to anyone of any gender with an interest in sailing and boating in Northern Ireland.
30 Jun 23
Women getting ready to go sailing

Whilst it will not come to a surprise to many, there are some stark findings that as a sport we need to reflect on. Survey results demonstrate that 1 in 2 women and girls have experienced some form of gender discrimination in sailing or boating and have comments that demonstrate that women and girls often do not feel welcome in sailing environments. There are positives to draw upon with 83% of those that have dropped out, keen to get back into the sport and lots of comments talking about the many positive experiences women and girls have had in the sport.

Why attend?

The webinar will lay bare the lived experiences of women and girls in the sport that have been shared openly and honestly through an independent researcher. It is an eye opener for anyone involved in the sport to recognise and reflect on some of the behaviours and culture ingrained in the sport and what we can do individually as a volunteer, fellow sailor/boater, coach, instructor, official or a club leader in the sport to improve these experiences and see women and girls involvement thrive across Northern Ireland. We encourage people of any gender to attend to hear the experiences shared and how as a collective sailing and boating community we can make the experience of our next generation better.

Why was this research carried out?

As of May 2023, female membership in clubs is about 1/3 of males (3467/9753). However, this does not resonate into wider roles in the sport, including commodores (which stand at less than 10%), and other volunteer-based roles. We have committed to carrying out similar research where there are other underrepresented groups in sailing or boating, or, where there is consistent feedback about some of the poor lived experiences in the sport due to someone’s protected characteristic.

The research has some key areas of focus, including:
- Developing a better understanding of the barriers to taking part and reasons for dropping out
- Better understand Women and Girls motivations across the talent and performance pathway and how better support can be provided to enable Women and Girls to progress
- Develop an understanding of the experiences and environments that have helped or hindered Women and Girls participation in the sport from grassroots to elite level
- Build understanding about what would enable more Women and Girls to start or continue their participation, take part more regularly or pursue a career in the sport
- Gain information and understanding on the motivators for Women and Girls to join workforce and volunteer-based roles and identify any issues regarding access.

We strongly recommend this webinar to any sailors, volunteers, instructors, officials and committee members who wish to create positive change for women and girls within your local club, understanding barriers, challenges and what steps to take next to create a more inclusive environment. To book, just click here.