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Report: small increase in number of female leaders within English sport

By Tom Walker    12 May 2014
There are now more high-profile female sporting role models than ever before - but women still lag behind men in the number of leadership roles

There has been a small increase in the percentage of women occupying roles on England's sports governing bodies (NGB), according to the latest Trophy Women? report published by the Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation (WSFF).

In total, 27 per cent of all board members are now female, compared to 23 per cent the year before.

Last year, Sport England introduced new governance guidelines for NGBs, stating that boards should comprise at least 25 per cent women by 2017.

The report shows that 23 of the 45 NGBs surveyed for the report currently meet the target.

Despite the increase, Ruth Holdaway, CEO of WSFF, said there is a long way to go to ensure women are fairly represented in leadership positions.

"I find it shocking that in 2014, we still have so few women in leadership positions in sport," she said.

"Reaching a 30 per cent diversity threshold for NGB Boards by 2017 is entirely possible. There is a wide and varied pool of talented women actively seeking these roles.

"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."

Sport England chief executive, Jennie Price, added: "The latest figures from WSFF show we are making progress, but there is much more to do.

"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 per cent threshold to take steps to do so before 2017."

Key statistics from the report include:

• There are 123 women on the Boards of NGBs

• 10 of the 45 NGBs audited now have female chief executives, up from eight in 2013• Across the four senior roles surveyed (chair, CEO, performance director, development director), an average of 21 per cent of these are held by women.

• 15 NGBs have a female development director (down from 18 last year) and eight employ a female performance director.

To download the full report, click here.

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