White woman brainstorming on A3 paper

Research Report: Beyond 30% – Female Leadership in Sport


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.


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

Checklist for Change

  1. Develop an effective recruitment and retention strategy that focuses on attracting diverse talent and nurturing it.
  2. Promote a wide range of flexible working practices with the primary goal of attracting and retaining more women in the organisations, but which will benefit everyone.
  3. Involve both women and men in achieving the shared goal of gender equality.
  4. Challenge gender stereotypes. They limit women to certain roles and exclude them from others
  5. Modernise organisational structures and practices to enable more women to rise up through the organisation. This includes reconsidering rigid elections by membership bodies.

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.


  • Only 30 %

    of Non-Exec Director roles are held by women

    Women in Sport

  • Only 23 %

    of CEOs are in the sport sector are female

    Women in Sport

Download the report