"MAJOR sports bodies guilty of ‘shocking’ lack of women’s representation at board level” was a headline I disappointingly came across recently.

It related to a report on a major investigation by a national newspaper into gender diversity on international sports federations. Unsurprisingly, it revealed women continue to be gravely under-represented at the executive level in many sports.

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Looking in-depth at 10 federations, it found women made up less than 40% of their boards, while only three had at least 25% female representation and not one board is led by a woman. The troubling thing is that these statistics will more than likely be a reflection of the wider sporting landscape and the continuing lack of diversity at a senior level in all sports.

This is something Scottish Women in Sport has been discussing for some time now and our intention to create an inclusion report with baseline figures in Scottish sport is still at the forefront of our ambition.

We feel that understanding the depth of the problem and putting down a marker will enable us to look at solutions and monitor change. It is clearly understood that there are many different factors which contribute to the lack of diversity on boards and there is not a one size fits all solution but if we don’t know the level of the problem, how can we begin to find a solution?

The first step for SW/S in this campaign is to work with a like-minded corporate body that will invest in the research. It is important that the findings not only set the benchmark, but give guidance on how to improve the situation.

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There is no doubt that sport will not hit the 50/50 by 2020 target, which was a challenge the First Minister aired back in 2015 for public, private and third-sector boards. We need change and modern, diverse and innovative leaders in sport and I believe that our proposed research and its finding could be the next step into helping to achieve this.