Day one of the ICF Women’s Symposium was a perfect mix of inspiration, action and asking what else we can do for women in sport. A combination of incredibly impactful speakers, and unique and lively workshops has started a great conversation on how we create the future we want to see. A key message for this came from IOC President Thomas Bach who cited the new Olympic motto ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together’. The message of together was echoed throughout the day, with Sport Ireland CEO emphasising the role of the community in create the environment for women to feel confident and supported to reach leadership positions.

‘We can plan as best we can but anything we want to achieve we must achieve through the community’

This message preceded an incredibly impactful key-note speech from Zelda La Grange, former private secretary to Nelson Mandela. The change which Zelda has seen driven in her home country of South Africa set a powerful example for the change we can create in our own communities. The day was capped off with a panel of three leading women in global sport – Dr Cecilia Farias (Vice president of the International Canoe Federation, Maree Brunett (ICF Executive Committee), and Nora Stapleton (Sport Ireland Women in Sport Lead). This panel left all in attendance with some kay actions they can enact in their own communities – ‘It is the responsibility of both men and women to create an environment in which women feel confident to pursue leadership positions.

We would like to extend a huge thank you to Thomas Byrne TD (Minister of State for Sport and Physical Education) for attending and speaking at the event. And to all our sponsors and supports who helped bring this event to the stage.