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Trophy women: Why a balanced board is good for business

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Only one in five members of the boards of NGBs for sport is a woman. One quarter of sports have no women in board positions at all. While almost half of all staff in NGBs is female, just 22% of Performance Directors and only 20% of senior management teams are women. This despite women making up half the population. It is no coincidence that less than one in ten women play competitive sport and more than 80% of women do too little sport or exercise to benefit their health.

The issue is not about fairness. Sport is failing in its core business: performance. Underrepresentation of women at a senior level means sport is largely ill-equipped to understand and engage with 51% of the population. More women want to play sport, but the way in which sport is led means it is failing to capitalise on the opportunity to grow grass-roots participation and enjoy greater elite success. As 2012 approaches, reputations are on the line too, as the world will expect to see a modern, progressive and female-friendly sports sector. While there is movement in some sports, these are the exception rather than the rule.

The way in which organisations are governed and led has a major impact on their performance. Sport has much to learn from other sectors and in particular from the corporate world. Extensive research among leading businesses, notably by McKinsey’s, shows that diverse boards make for better decision-making and more effective organisations. Companies where women hold at least 30% of senior management positions are significantly more successful and better able to deal with future challenges.

Organisations seeking to appeal to women employ women leaders in order to provide understanding of the female market at a strategic level. Moreover, for leading companies it is simply good business to fish from the widest available talent pool in recruiting their senior management. These are not just “trophy women”.

(Not part of but of interest in this issue is the following (2013) address from Sue Campbell)



editors comments

Editor's comments - [  Conceived by the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation (WSFF), the Commission on the Future of Women’s Sport was launched in 2008 by the then Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Andy Burnham MP. Its purpose was [is] to unlock the potential of women’s sport, by addressing the problems of leadership, investment and profile in the sector.  ]  Reference this?Cryer, J. (Year). This page title in italics. Retrieved date, from In the text: Cryer (year)


APA reference for this document


Reference : WSFF. (2009). Trophy women: Why a balanced board is good for business. London: WSFF


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Download this file (Commission_Report.pdf)Commission_Report.pdfWSFF. (2009). Trophy women: Why a balanced board is good for business. London: WSFF
Last Updated on Monday, 01 April 2013 11:38  

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