Gender Portrayal – the Role it Plays in Influencing Public Perception


OFI Gender Equality in Sport Online Series – Week Four

27 July 2020

The final webinar in the OFI Gender Equality in Sport Online Series focusses on Portrayal, specifically on how public perception can be influenced based on how sports and athletes are portrayed and promoted. This is the fourth episode in the series that has explored how sport can move towards being a more gender inclusive environment and has featured input from leaders in the sporting arena, decision-makers, experts, and influencers.


To date the series has explored the subject of gender equality in areas of coaching, leadership, and governance, and as a series is funded through the Sport Ireland Women in Sport Initiative. This week experts discuss key areas that can impact positive and inclusive portrayal of sports, and sports people, in the media.

The two main speakers on Wednesday’s one hour session are Sports Journalist Cliona Foley and Deputy Head of RTÉ TV Sport Cliona O’Leary. They will be joined for a panel discussion by Team Ireland hockey international Nicci Daly and former Captain in the Irish Army Deirdre Carbery, who spoke at the Leadership session earlier this month.

MC for this week’s event is Declan Quigley, Broadcaster and Journalist, Eurosport commentator for cycling, and motorsport specialist. He heads up the media and communications team for Rás na mBan, Ireland’s international cycle race for women. 

The webinar occurs on Wednesday 29 July at 2pm. Please note, you must register in advance for each webinar via THIS LINK.  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. 

Week 4: Focus on Portrayal

  • Cliona Foley taught Physical Education & English before completing a post-grad in journalism at DCU. She has been a sports journalist for 31 years; 24 as a staff writer for Independent News & Media, and since 2015, as a freelance sportswriter and broadcaster. She has covered multiple Olympic Games – Summer, Winter and Paralympics – and is the founder/presenter of Ireland’s first women’s sport podcast ‘Off The Bench’, which started in December 2015 and is now partnered with the Off The Ball media group. Her presentation is entitled ‘Portrayal or Promotion?’ and will address specifically portrayal through the lens of print media.
  • Cliona O’Leary is Deputy Head of RTÉ TV Sport since 2010. She has worked on every Olympic Games for the organization over the last two decades; from programme editor on Sydney 2000 to away team leader in Beijing and Rio. Cliona is a strong advocate for social justice; she is Chair of the European Broadcast Union’s Women in Sport Expert Group, Chair of RTÉ’s 20×20 Steering Group, Diversity Champion in RTÉ and Chair of Ranelagh Gaels Diversity and Inclusion Sub-Committee. Her Presentation is entitled ‘The Role of Targets in Escalating Change’ and will also discuss the challenges that come from that internally and externally for media organisations.
  • Nicci Daly (Panelist) is an Irish International Hockey Player who was part of the historic team that won World Cup Silver in 2018 and qualified Team Ireland for the Tokyo Olympic Games. She also holds a MSc in Motorsport Engineering and comes from a renowned family of motorsport racers. She is founder of Formula Female, a motorsport initiative that was designed to introduce women and girls to both motor racing as a sport, and motor sport as a platform for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Education and will join the conversation as a panelist.
  • Deirdre Carbery (Panelist) is a Security Strategist, Gender Advisor and WHIS Expert Group Chair for Gender Equality & Women’s Empowerment. She is also a former Captain in the Irish Army, and in Week Two spoke impressively on the topic of Leadership. Bringing a vast amount of experience from outside the realm of sport, she will add a diverse voice to the conversation in this panel discussion.

Week one focused on leaders in coaching, with excellent examples from our speakers, read the REPORT HERE.  In week two Leadership was examined, with interesting examples from outside the sport REPORT HERE.  Governance was explored in week three, with examples of how to move from theory to practice, REPORT HERE. This is the final session in the four part series which was funded by the Sport Ireland Women in Sport Initiative.


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