IT’S a good news, bad news kind of week for Scottish Women in Sport, with the release of the recent research in collaboration with the Observatory for Sport in Scotland.

For me, one of the main drivers to gender balance in sport is diversity and inclusion – and particularly at the top, where the decisions are made.

Understanding difference in our society is key, however, no matter how much you support diversity, it is having a disability, being a person of colour, or having experience as a minority who has faced prejudice that makes you qualified to make informed decisions.

Our focus with this report was solely on female leadership, so let’s start with the good news.

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I can tell you that there has been a steady rise in the number of organisations that have more than 50% female board members, from five out of 49 sporting boards in 2015-2016, to eight out of 49 in the 2019-2020 season.

However, that is still only 16% of sporting body boards, so quite a way off from being balanced. If you have aspirations to become chair of the organisation, the figures are clearly against you, as this role is still predominantly male held – consistently more than 80% (nearly 90% in 2015).

And if your dream as a female is to become a CEO, then these figures will shock you, as only one in five CEOs in 2020 were female – representing a 4% decrease since 2015.

In season 2020, 27% of coaching staff were female, while 72% were male. I think we all know the old adage by now – you can’t be what you can’t see, and these figures show a lack of female role models in positions of power – something that we must change without hesitation.

This is just a snapshot of what was found, and at the current pace of change, it would take almost 25 years to achieve gender equality in leadership roles across Scottish sport.

Good news is, there are strong recommendations in this report, and it is our hope that they don’t sit in a corner gathering dust but are actioned by the powers that be.

Read the full report here: