Top UK sporting bodies risk losing funding over lack of women

Top sporting bodies within the UK are at risk of losing funding if they do not introduce more women into senior roles.

Women in sport

Out of the 68 Sport England and UK Sport-funded national governing bodies, around half have less than 30 per cent of women in non-director roles, according to a new survey.

Under new government legislation, which will come into effect on 1 April, organisations must have at least 30 per cent women on their board, or risk losing government funding.

The Football Association, the Rugby Football Union, the England and Wales Cricket Board, British Cycling and the British Paralympic Association are all at risk of losing their funding due to the lack of female representation. These groups will now have to prove to Sport England and UK Sport that they can achieve the target within the next 12 to 18 months.

The survey, released by Women in Sport, also found that nine of the 68 organisations have no women in senior leadership roles below chief executive level.

The research also found that the number of women getting tops jobs at UK sporting bodies has fallen by six per cent since 2014.

Women in Sport are now calling for the National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGBs) to move beyond the 30 per cent target for gender diversity on boards and to implement broader change to encourage women into the business of sport and to support their development.

Speaking about the research, Ruth Holdaway, CEO of Women in Sport said, “The sport sector now clearly understands its responsibility to the public that funds it; its responsibility to be representative of that public.”

“The sector also understands that gender diversity at leadership leave is good for business.”

“Yet even with this understanding women are still significantly underrepresented across the sector.”

“This is why we believe it’s no longer about a target.”

“It’s about how we make gender diversity in sports leadership sustainable.”

“It’s time to move Beyond 30 per cent.”

“Women in Sport is committed to ensuring sport develops, and benefits from, female leadership.”

“We’ll work with the whole sector; agitating, cajoling and supporting.”

“It’s time to look beyond targets and at the working practices and culture of our organisations.”

“And the time is coming for those who are blocking progress to move on.”

“It’s time to go Beyond 30 per cent – and truly transform sport.”

Alison Simpson
About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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