Sports groups lack women in boardrooms

A threat of cuts from the government’s sports funding agency if sports associations fail to get enough women on their boards has not increased female representation in the past year.

Women still make up just 22 per cent of board members at sports organisations, despite UK Sport’s push for a higher profile for women’s sport inspired by the performance of Olympic athletes such as Jessica Ennis and Nicola Adams last year.

Almost two-thirds of boards do not meet UK Sport’s minimum target of 25 per cent female members and six sports boards, including British Cycling, do not have any women on them at all.

Maria Miller, culture secretary and minister for women, will host an event with the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation on Monday to push for more progress.

“There is still some way to go to improve the representation of women in sports’ governing bodies’ boardrooms,” she said. “Sports get public money to target both men and women to participate and this aim will be better served with a good gender balance at the top.”

Sue Tibballs, chief executive of the WSFF, said it was “not an insurmountable challenge” because just 58 more women were needed to ensure every sport hits the 25 per cent target.

“We don’t want extra women on sports boards just to make things fairer,” she said. “The lack of diversity makes it harder for them to give elite sportswomen the support they need – as well as damaging participation at grassroots level.”

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