Paralympics Ireland has produced a weekly Women in Sport Focus since the inaugural edition in July. Some of the best female Paralympians in the country have featured to date including Nicole Turner, Ellen Keane, Niamh McCarthy, Greta Streimikyte, Mary Fitzgerald, Orla Comerford, Richael Timothy, Katie-George Dunlevy, Eve McCrystal and Kerrie Leonard. This week’s Women in Sport focus switches it’s emphasis from the arena of competition to sports administration with Paralympics Ireland CEO, Miriam Malone.
Miriam joined Paralympics Ireland in 2017 from her previous position as Director of Business Partnerships in the Football Association of Ireland, where she worked from 2006.
In 2018, Miriam played a key role in delivering the Allianz European Para Swimming Championships at the Sport Ireland Campus in August 2018, also doubling up as the chair for the Local Organising Committee for the event. After a successful event in 2018, attention turned to the planning and preparation for the 2020 Paralympic Games.
We sat down with Miriam to discuss the importance of female role models, both as athletes, and those working in sports administration. Miriam also talked about how the landscape has improved for women in sport compared to early on in her career.
The Paralympics Ireland CEO emphasises the importance of strong female role models for females starting out in sport, Miriam said: “It is really important for everyone to have role models within that sphere (sports administration) too and I think across the board there are many more role models, particularly in the higher levels of sport than we would have seen a number of years ago.”
As the support for the Women in Sport movement continues to grow, and with the successful 20×20 campaign, which helped increase participation, awareness, and visibility for females in sport. Miriam discussed several actions to help keep the momentum going.
She said: “One thing that can be done is that the strong voices of people involved in sport try and ensure that the female sporting activities remain on the calendar, that needs to continue. While there has been a spotlight and it has increased, it is still nowhere near the level that it needs to be at”.
Speaking on the some of the biggest challenges faced in her career, she said: “At times it felt like a battle and to try and ensure that you excel in all the areas that you work in, and in some areas you needed to do even better to be recognised as equal.”
Discussing the postponement of Tokyo 2020, Miriam said: “In terms of planning and administration around the Games, the staff team were great. They all immediately jumped into a management and shift mode, to be able to adjust plans and keep communication open with our stakeholders, particularly with our athletes and our coaching staff to make sure everyone was facilitated to continue training until we had a clearer picture.”
To watch the full interview with Miriam please click here.