IN many areas of sport, there may have been positives steps taken over the past few years towards achieving gender equality. However for some organisations, they now feel that their work is done as they have ticked the necessary boxes,

appointed a token woman to the board, created a second-rate budget for a women’s team and told anyone who will listen about their great work in this area.

This may come as a surprise to many, but there is still a lot of work to be done before we are anywhere near realising equality. Recent figures released last week which are part of the third review from the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations, a body that aims to raise standards and transparency within sport, shows otherwise. The report states clearly that

only one out of 31 sports bodies has more than 40% of women on their ruling board and just 18 had female representation of 25% or less, which in anyone’s eyes is quite a distance from equality.

The problem, as far as I can make out, seems to be the pathway to selection, as in many cases those who are sitting in office can remain there for an indefinite length of time. In fact there are a few celebrating their 20-year anniversary as a top decision-maker in sport.

This stagnation does not allow any opportunities for new candidates, perhaps with a more diverse background, to have an opportunity to put their case forward for selection.

And what is more astonishing is the International Olympic Committee (IOC) itself has only four women on its 15-member executive board, or to put it another way, 27% representation!

I believe that the best standpoint to come from when you are preaching to the masses is to lead by example, something that has got a little lost with the IOC.

It is now 48 years since the establishment of Title 1X in the US stating women and girls should have equal opportunities under all educational programs, including sport, and they are still fighting for equality.

Thankfully we have some feisty females who are keen to progress change, supported by some excellent male allies and that is a powerful combination. Changing the rules to allow more women to sit on the board may be a bit like turkeys voting for Christmas, but the future of our sport depends on this change.