20×20: New horizons for the Cologne Celtics Ladies

2020 has been a very grim year, challenging for all of us and bringing difficulties and suffering with it. But as much as it brought general life to a halt, there has been a boost for us at Cologne Celtics GAA during this pandemic.

The female branch of the Cologne Celtics GAA

Our Gaelic Games functioned as an outlet during these stressful times, the club allowed us to come together online and offline, in accordance with the rules at all times. This boost was particularly reflected in the growth of our female branch over the past 12 months. We were joined by new female players, bringing us very close to a full Camogie and Gaelic Football team at the end of 2020, for the first time we sent female players to an international tournament and we attended our first “ladies only” training session when Düsseldorf invited us over in September. These were huge milestones for the club in general and the female branch in particular.

The campaign “20×20”

In late October 2020 the club became aware of the 20×20 campaign through the online event #ThinkItAskIt featuring voices of sporting idols like Martina Navratilova and Ada Hegerberg (and many more). Even though it was designed to function as one of the closing points of the movement with a number of talks and presentations, it was our stepping stone to get involved. The event inspired and sparked the idea to join, connecting our club’s journey to the campaigns aims.

20×20 was launched in 2018 and became the first movement of its kind in Ireland championing women and girls in sport. It was focused on a cultural shift in Ireland and beyond so that girls and women in sport become more seen as strong, valuable and worth celebrating. It was aimed at reaching three targets by the end of 2020:

  • 20% more media coverage of women in sport
  • 20% more female participation at player, coach, referee & administrative level
  • 20% more attendance at women’s games and events

Each supporting club and institution pledged to undertake three actions to support the aim of the campaign: to highlight women in sport and give them a broader stage. The necessity of this strenuous effort becomes especially crucial in light of creating a future with more chances and incentives for future female athletes.

For one of the campaigns initial videos on this dimension of the movement have a look here:

We signed the Charta

We are proud to declare that we as a club signed the Charta and are now members and supporters of the Irish campaign 20×20. A few days ago our signed Charta and campaign flag arrived from the headquarters in Dublin. We pledged to undertake the following three actions:

  1. We will have monthly social media posts on all our channels and our website dedicated to the development of our club’s ladies’ team. We will highlight events run by the ladies and highlight the players themselves as well as special achievements.
  2. We will have a monthly training session organised only for the ladies. We as a club set ourselves the target of playing the first full Camogie and Ladies Gaelic Football matches in Cologne and send full teams for each sport to an international tournament in 2021.
  3. We will encourage all members to attend and tune into female sporting events across all sports, in particular Camogie and Ladies Gaelic Football, as well as sporting events related to Ireland and Cologne. We will do so by spreading information directly and via our social media channels and website.
New year, new horizons: plans for 2021

Four days ago the 20×20 campaign officially ended. The organisers presented the movements achievements most impressively in a YouTube video, telling the story of their journey and how their efforts changed the media coverage, female participation and attendance at women’s games, or generally speaking the public perception of women in sports in Ireland.

If you are interested to get to know about the impact of 20×20, you can watch the story here:

Or read about the results here: https://www.rte.ie/sport/other-sport/2020/1021/1172980-20×20-participation-crowds-at-womens-sport-rising/

As the campaign has ended you can’t reach 20×20 on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram anymore. Besides their YouTube channel you can also still access their website 20×20.ie for more information.

We at the Cologne Celtics GAA take the end of the campaign as an opportunity to carry on the spirit. Even though the campaign came to a close it doesn’t end with raising media coverage, female participation and attendance at women’s games by 20 %. It is an ongoing task to spread inspiration and support female sport beyond the 31st December 2020. Change has to continuously happen in the future to make women an integral and equal part of the sport world.

Encouraging people to support women in sports

As officer for the female branch of the club I’m especially proud and excited for this journey. Even though club life is put on hold again due to Corona we will use the fresh start in 2021 by bringing our three pledged actions to life. In the world’s current situation, we are sadly limited in our efforts for a monthly training session solely for the ladies. But while the sessions physically can’t take place yet, planning and organising for a future fulfilment of this pledge are ongoing. It will all fall into place as soon as we can all meet again on the pitch.

20x20 Club Charter Cologne Celtics Ladies
The Charta: Cologne Celtics pledges to 20×20 / Foto: Lea Janßen

The other two actions are easier to fulfil in a world that takes place online to a bigger and bigger extent. While we practise social distancing and help to reduce the pressure of the pandemic, we will be able to kick off our monthly social media posts dedicated to the development of our club’s ladies’ team. Also our third action will be able to be carried out from the very start of 2021. Even though we have to stay home as much as possible, we will encourage our members, friends and family to tune into female sporting events that are allowed to take place and will support people going to attend them in real life as soon as it is safe again in post Corona times.

Here’s to 2021 and here’s to 20×20 – we will do the best we can to promote and inspire, to highlight women in sports and give them a broader stage here at the Cologne Celtics.

Join us on social media by using the following hashtags and be a supporter of girls and women in sports everywhere!

#20×20 #ShowYourStripes #CantSeeCantBe #CologneCeltics #Cologne #GAA

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