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O'Driscoll: 'Get out of your comfort zone'

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Brian O'Driscoll

Brian O'Driscoll

�INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Brian O'Driscoll

Brian O'Driscoll has called on men, especially high-profile male athletes, to stand up and speak out in support of their female sporting counterparts.

The Irish rugby legend said: "Women pushing other women in sport is an easy win. The onus is on the male population next, fathers of sons and daughters, to let them know that parity and equality is something for the future.

"I've had comments on social media like 'oh the feminazis have got hold of you!' when you try to promote women's sport or talk about more visibility for them," O'Driscoll revealed.

"There's still going to be kick-back from certain factions of society who don't want to rock the boat or change the status quo, but there's a big onus on us.

"Justin Rose has promoted women's golf events, Andy Murray has been a big voice for women's tennis and I think more people can step up to the plate."

O'Driscoll admitted that, like most elite athletes, he didn't look beyond himself during his own playing career but has been given a new perspective since, not least by becoming a father of two, including a seven year-old daughter.

"She's in a fab co-ed school but you still hear inklings that it's boys first (in sport) and she's a second-class citizen. You're trying to drive it into her that that will never be the case and we will never accept that.

"My son wants to hear more about female stars, he's not gender-specific at the moment," he added.

"Something happens along the way, whether it's in school or clubs, where men have the better run of things and all of a sudden you don't want to change anything because you get the best of everything.

"It's easy to stay quiet and motor on but if you want something different for your daughter and future generations then you need to lend a little support yourself. Get out of your comfort zone."

O'Driscoll's outspoken support for female athletes came at the conclusion of the 20x20 women's sport campaign where he was among a panel of superstar speakers included Martina Navratilova, Ada Hegerberg, Sonia O'Sullivan, Leona Maguire and Mary Peters.


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