Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Women are making progress in the corporate boardroom but what about sport?

Perfect timing, in the middle of wall-to-wall sport this summer (with little success from cricket, football and rugby.....) Women on Boards launched its “Gender Balance in Global Sport Report. 

I will not rehearse the common issues surrounding the lack of media coverage given to women’s sport; the difficulty of obtaining sponsorship and support, etc as others deal them with better than I can.

This report addresses the lack of female representation on governing boards be they international or national and the lack of governance. We only have to look at the shenanigans surrounding FIFA to see this in action. 

If we are to motivate our girls and young women to participate in sport at all levels they need to see the leadership coming from the top: there is nothing like a role model to inspire. I have written about gender equality in business before – particularly at a senior level - but this report neatly encapsulates how unbalanced the equation is at the top levels of sports administration.

The London 2012 Olympics had the highest participation by female athletes (44.2 per cent of the athletes who competed) yet there are few National Olympic or Commonwealth organising committees or sports federations where more than 30 per cent of board members are female, and the average is closer to, or below, 20 per cent.

If businesses are boasting about their gender balanced policies and their good governance - perhaps they need to be challenged about enquiring a bit more deeply about how balanced the organisations they sponsor are and look at their governance? My experience in charity/business partnerships is that they look very closely as to how your governance and ethics mesh with theirs.  They need to look beyond the corporate hospitality box in sport.

Have a look at the report – free to download from their website under “Featured Reports”  Women on Boards - report

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