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The Women in Tennis program is looking for junior players to participate in their sport off-court

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THE APPLICATIONS for the Women in Tennis program are closing this week, with a focus on female junior players for the next six weeks.

Tennis Ireland has received funding from Sport Ireland to implement a program in support of the Women in Sport policy, published in 2019.

The Women in Sport policy distinguishes four different areas: these include: coaching and leadership; active participation, leadership and governance and visibility.

By making improvements in all of these areas, it is hoped that the overall landscape for sportswomen in Ireland will be inviting and inclusive.

The Women in Tennis program started in February 2020 and is researching the behavior and attitudes towards women’s tennis in Ireland.

This program is designed to support and empower girls and women across Ireland to take on leadership roles within tennis in the areas of playing, coaching, leadership and administration.

Now Tennis Ireland is organizing its first Young Women Leadership Conference.

This conference provides an opportunity for representatives from each county of Ireland to discuss and collaborate on how tennis for young Irish women can grow, with a view to empowering future tennis leaders and providing a platform for young women to develop their express opinion and make effective change.

Representatives can be nominated by their clubs, possibly junior representatives on committees, junior captains or young committee members (ie potential future leaders in clubs).

All local clubs are encouraged to nominate an elected female club member (16 years and 25 years old) to represent their local area.

The start date of the program is December 2. And it runs for six weeks. The course is taught online by the National Coordinator for Women in Tennis, Grainne ONeill.

Applications, along with the consent form (if you are under 18), must be sent: mailto:[email protected]

Places are limited and applicants must have permission from their club committee and a club contact must verify this on the application form.

Club contacts can be any member of the club committee (chairman, secretary, president, treasurer, junior coordinator).

This is a welcome initiative from Tennis Ireland and it showed great foresight from Sport Ireland to encourage more female participation in tennis.

For too long, young girls have seen top male coaches dominate in many local clubs.

In fact, when I looked up the list of available coaches on the website of some local clubs, I was surprised that two prominent and popular clubs in Cork don’t list one woman as a coach!

This is not acceptable!

Therefore, it is hoped that programs such as the Young Leadership Conference may help change the coaching structures in some clubs, with female leaders visible on the field, rather than just in the clubhouse.

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