As one of Britain’s leading broadcasters and a regular presenter on the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year, she was utterly dismayed when not one female athlete made the 10-strong list of nominations for the award in 2011.
“I knew that wasn’t because women hadn’t achieved great things that year, it was just that they hadn’t got the recognition for it and they hadn’t got the media profile,” Balding recalls.
“I made quite a fuss at the time and I was very vocal about it. I then realised that I don’t just have a job that I love where I get to go to great events and am very passionate about what I do in trying to do it well. There is also a responsibility that comes with that, which is to do what I can to support women’s sport.
One such cause she feels passionate about is Liberty Insurance’s ‘Wise Up’ study, which was launched at an event at Croke Park last week with Balding, Olympic silver medallist Sonia O’Sullivan and a number of the country’s top #female athletes all in attendance.
The research revealed that 55% of Irish women describe themselves as ‘active’ compared to 45% of their male counterparts. Organisers also called on parents and family members to make a pledge to bring their daughters, sisters, nieces, and granddaughters to a women’s sporting fixture this year using the Twitter hashtag #SupportHerSport.