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Women in Sport launches Three-Year Research Project to Address Boardroom Gender Inequality

Women in Sport, with support from Comic Relief, will launch a new three-year programme of activity to help address the current gender inequality at the top level of sport in the UK.


Building on the work begun in its landmark annual research project, Trophy Women?, Women in Sport will begin by publishing a full audit of Board and senior leadership roles throughout National Governing Bodies (NGBs) working in England.

With almost half of NGBs currently failing to meet guidelines of 25% Board gender diversity by 2017, Women in Sport will be working with NGBs, existing female Directors and the next generation of female sport business leaders to help understand and overcome the barriers that face women working in sport. Sport England and UK Sport have also pledged support to the programme as part of the organisations’ respective commitments to women’s representation in sport.

The first report will be launched in late-2015 at a sport roundtable event and will be followed by annual updates on progress made across the industry.


Ruth Holdaway, Chief Executive, Women in Sport said:

“Equality in leadership is a fundamental part of our mission to transform sport for every woman and girl in the UK. We are determined that women should enjoy equality at every level of sport; the funding provided by Comic Relief will allow us to make real progress in redressing the current imbalances throughout sport’s boardrooms.

“Current gender guidelines for NGBs are a welcome commitment and it’s fantastic that we can also call on the support of Sport England and UK Sport in this programme.  We want our work to take sport’s commitment further, with equal gender representation our ultimate goal. We will be looking for sports to join us in this task and bring an end to the days of leadership gender inequality.”

Gilly Green, Comic Relief’s Head of UK Grants, said:

“Comic Relief supports hundreds of organisations across the UK that use sport to help girls and young women who are living tough lives, change and improve their futures.  There are far fewer opportunities or resources for girls and it is therefore vital to have more women in leadership roles on Boards where crucial decisions are made about programmes and the funding for them. We believe that’s fair play.”