Investec has, today, launched the inaugural Investec 20×20 Media Awards, to recognise and reward excellence in Irish journalism focused on Women in Sport. Investec is a proud sponsor of 20×20, an initiative presented by The Federation of Irish Sport which calls on the people of Ireland to provide more support for women in sport. In demonstrating its commitment to the initiative, Investec has created this new awards scheme to help change the perceptions of women’s sport. The Investec 20×20 Media Awards recognises that increased visibility will lead to greater cultural recognition of girls and women in sport.
Broadcast, print and online journalists are invited to ‘show their stripes’ and submit entries on Women in Sport via www.investec.ie/20×20 from February to November, with a winner announced each month. Entries to the awards can be submitted by nominees themselves or on behalf of journalists by editors or peers across the media spectrum. Investec’s expert panel of judges will select one outstanding piece of journalism to award each month recognising and acknowledging that journalist’s contribution to women’s sport. The monthly winner will receive a prize of €1,000. An overall annual winner will be announced in December 2019 and awarded the Investec 20×20 Media Award Winner title – ‘If She Can’t See It, She Can’t Be It’ Winner 2019.
Each entry will be examined by an independent panel of judges, comprising of sporting and business leaders. The 2019 judicial panel comprises: Anna Kessel (Chair); Mary O’Connor, CEO, Federation of Irish Sport; Michael Cullen, CEO, Investec; Sarah Colgan, CEO, Along Came A Spider and 20×20 co-founder and Gordon D’Arcy, former Irish International Rugby Player.
The Investec 20×20 Media Awards is about recognising excellence amongst the Irish journalism community in the reporting of women’s sport and the profiling of female athletes. Investec wants to lead the charge and tackle the lack of visibility of Irish sportswomen and aims to drive more print, online and broadcast media coverage in women’s sport. Entries are welcomed from all media. This can include game-changing profiles of inspirational sportswomen, investigative news, opinion pieces, business interviews, articles and interviews from boxing to golf to hockey and every other sport in between.
20×20 commissioned Nielsen Sports to monitor media coverage of sport in the period before launch. The 20×20 Nielsen Sports Study found that just 3% of Print and 4% of Online coverage was dedicated to women’s sport in Ireland.
Based on Nielsen Sports research, 20×20 has estimated television coverage of women’s sport is less than 12%. The 20×20 Nielsen Sports research, launched today, found that 59% of Irish people believe that the media should do more to promote female sport, with 57% wanting to see equality in female and male sporting role models in media. The research also found that 63% of people would like to see Ireland’s sportswomen become national heroes in the same way as our sportsmen.
Anna Kessel, Investec 20×20 Awards judging panel Chair, said: “In celebrating women’s sports journalism the Investec 20×20 Media Awards are sending out a very powerful message: women’s sport is amazing, and of value. For every sports editor who’s ever wondered if it’s worth covering; to every coach who questioned whether girls needed encouraging, and to every sports’ governing body deliberating over how much to invest in their female athletes this year, this initiative makes it clear: women’s sport matters. For that very reason, it is an absolute honour to be part of these ground-breaking awards.”
Michael Cullen, CEO, Investec said: “The Investec 20×20 Media Awards is all about championing women in sport and calling on all media to use their skills, bravery and diligence to support women in sport. In working to increase media coverage for women’s sport by 20% it is fitting that as an official sponsor of 20×20, we recognise and reward media for promoting women in sport – ‘If She Can’t See It, She Can’t Be It’. Investec wants to help change perceptions of women in sport by celebrating and recognising outstanding contributions to journalism in Ireland, and celebrate the contribution of journalists from across the media spectrum – the professionals who act as an independent voice – who challenge pre-conceptions, ask hard questions and push for answers.”
Sarah Colgan, CEO Along Came A Spider and Co-Founder 20×20, added: “The 20×20 campaign is starting to gain real momentum since the initiative launched in October 2018. Media companies have organically picked up on this very important national topic and have taken positive steps towards delivering on one of the key objectives of 20×20, which is to increase the level of coverage of women’s sport across media by 20% by the end of 2020. The Investec 20×20 Media Awards will help us get there.”
Mary O Connor, CEO, Federation of Irish Sport added: “It is hugely important to recognise the work of the media and their value to the 20×20 campaign. As we know, the pillar to increase media coverage by 20% by 2020 relies intrinsically on the hardworking journalists covering women’s sport week in and week out and their colleagues who in the past may not have had the same drive or opportunity to report on women’s sport. I have no doubt that the Investec 20×20 Media Awards will not only encourage more coverage of our female athletes, coaches and teams but also showcase some of the inspiring female sporting role-model stories from around the nation. I look forward to enjoying the submissions to the awards and the fantastic female success stories they will tell.”