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  • 15 May 2014 00:00
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Number of female leaders in sport still worryingly low reveals major WSFF report

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The number of female leaders in sport is still worrying low according to a key report on the issue by the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation (WSFF).

The WSFF recently launched their fifth annual ‘Trophy Women?’ report that showed there has been remarkably little progress in terms of increasing the number of women on Boards in sport over recent years.  

Research shows that nearly half (49%) of National Governing Bodies (NGBs) in sport have less than a quarter of women on their Boards. 

This is only a slight improvement on the 55% of NGBs with less than a quarter of women on their Boards in 2009.

The report, supported by Sport England and Hill Dickinson LLP, also shows that the overall percentage of women on NGB Boards in England has only risen slightly from 23% last year to 27%.

The number of women in the most senior leadership roles also remains worrying low with little over 10% acting as Chairs and only a third in CEO positions.

"I find it shocking that in 2014, we still have so few women in leadership positions in sport,” said WSFF CEO Ruth Holdaway.

"NGBs have no excuse, and are missing out by being so male dominated at the highest levels.  

"We want to see this change, and fast – and we will continue through the Women’s Sport Network and other means to support NGBs and the women who serve on their Boards.”

Last year, in order to accelerate progress towards making NGB Boards more gender-diverse, Sport England included an expectation in their governance guidelines for NGBs that their Boards should comprise at least 25% women by 2017. 

Only 23 of the 45 NGBs surveyed currently meet this target.

"The latest figures from WSFF show we are making progress, but there is much more to do,” said Sport England CEO Jennie Price.

"There is no shortage of excellent female candidates and where sports have appointed women to their Boards, they are making a significant contribution. 

"I strongly urge those NGBs that have not reached the 25% threshold to take steps to do so before 2017.”

The report also revealed that only 15 NGBs have a female development director (down from 18 last year) and just eight employ a female performance director.

"I want to see women’s sport stronger across the board with more women and girls participating, greater media coverage and more women at the top of sports governing bodies,” said Minister for Sport and Equalities Helen Grant. 

"There have been improvements in the last couple of years but I want the pace to quicken.”

To view the full report, Click Here 

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