SportAccord, the umbrella body for international sports federations, has released its latest fact sheet on women in leadership positions in international sport. The report found that the amount of women in decision making bodies amongst its membership had remained static at 13% despite the fact that 71 such positions had opened up since they last published their factsheet in February 2012. The report also found that 25% of their members had no women on decision making bodies.

Sarah Keane, CEO, Swim Ireland

This is despite and International Olympic Committee (“IOC”) having set an objective that National Olympic Committees, International and National Sports Federations would look to reserve 20% of decision-making positions for women within their structures.

The release of the SportAccord factsheet follows on from the release by the UK’s Women Sport and Fitness Foundation (“WSFF”) of their 2013 female leadership audit which looked at 57 National Governing Bodies in England. They too found that the percentage of women in board positions of those National Governing Bodies remained static at 22% up only 1% since the first such audit was conducted in 2009.The WSFF Report found:

  • 33 of the 57 National Governing Bodies did not meet target of 25% female board representation
  • 6 National Governing Bodies did not have any female representation at all
  • 9 sports had a female CEO

The WSFF stated they found the findings of the report particularly disappointing given the extent of female sporting success during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. They pointed out that only 58 additional women would be needed to ensure all 57 boards surveyed met the recommended guideline of 25%

Interestingly, sports bodies have become the focus for a Australian and UK initiative “Women on Boards” an organisation that is established for women looking to leverage their professional skills and experience into leadership roles. The first of such discussions can be viewed by clicking here whilst a second such event is planned for November.

The SportAccord factsheet can be viewed here

Details of the WSFF audit can be seen here