Research Report: Beyond 30% - Female Leadership in Sport - Women In Sport

Research Report: Beyond 30% – Female Leadership in Sport

Published 2017

“How do you create an environment that is conducive to anyone applying? It is about creating environments that are diverse. Full stop. That will naturally draw women in.”

Executive Summary

The report provides quantitative and qualitative research into the numbers and experiences of women on the board and in senior leadership roles in National Governing Bodies (NGBs) of Sport in England and Wales.

The Beyond 30% report incorporates a Checklist for Change comprising of five key areas organisations should address in order to improve the diversity of their board and teams.

Report Contents:

  • Checklist for Change.
  • Recruitment and Retention.
  • Flexible Working.
  • Achieving Equality Together.
  • Challenging Gender Stereotypes.
  • Modernising Structures and Practices.

Key Findings

Women in Sport has collected data annually on women in leadership roles for the last seven years for organisations.

The results in this report show:

  • The percentage of women on the boards of the NGBs remains static, with an average of 30% of board positions being held by women.
  • A fall in the percentage of women in Senior Leadership roles.
  • Much lower numbers of women in Performance Director roles.
  • Women make up a third of Non-Executive Director roles.


We have five recommendations for NGBs in our Checklist for Change video:

Key partners

Recommended links and resources

  1. Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport. (2015). Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation. 
  2. Governance and Leadership Framework for Wales. (1st ed.). (2015)
  3. Sport England: New strategy for tackling inactivity. (2016).
  4. Sport England: New code for Sports Governance. (2016).
  5. Women in Sport. (2015). Checklist for Change: Building a Sustainable Pipeline to Gender Diversity in Sport Leadership.
  6. Women in Sport. (2015). Trophy Women? No More Board Games.

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