A woman jotting down notes on a poster

Research Report: Trophy Women? No More Board Games – Getting gender diversity on boards


Following six years of research by Women in Sport into the gender diversity of sports boards, female representation on the boards of National Governing Bodies (NGBs) and other sports organisations that are funded and supported by Sport England and UK Sport, is finally averaging 30%. If you compare this to our first set of data in 2009, when survey findings put the proportion of women on boards at only 21%, progress has been marked and Sport England’s target of 25% gender diversity.


It’s remained a very male dominated industry and I still find it a challenge when I walk into a room and it’s filled with men.

Key findings

  • Whilst 26 of the funded sports bodies have at least 30% female board members, there are 29 organisations in our audit which have not achieved Sport England’s target of 25%.
  • When the Davies Review into women on boards was launched in 2011, the representation of women on FTSE Boards was 12.5%; in 2015 the figure has risen to 23.5%.
  • Progress has been greatest in the presence of women on executive teams. The proportion of women in such roles stood at 21% in 2009 but rose to 40% this year. And if the full audit sample of funded sport bodies is considered, the proportion is 43%.


  • Key stakeholders, such as media companies, commercial partners and competition organisers need to work together to develop a regular calendar of high quality events and competitions.
  • Greater clarity about the characteristics and commercial benefits of successful women’s sport events and competitions should be established.
  • Women’s events and competitions must be developed in a way that encourages fans to engage and connect with them.

Download the report