Gender equality in sports governance boards to be explored by Leicester researcher

A researcher from our University will be examining gender equality in corporate governance of sport organisations as part of a funded European Commission Erasmus + project with five European countries.

The primary objective of the project is to improve women’s accessibility to the governing boards of sports federations or associations of all sports under Erasmus + sports actions. Its results are expected to contribute to detecting possible measures to promote gender balance in corporate governance decision-making in sports organisations.

Dr Charlotte Smith from our School of Business, in collaboration with researchers from Spain, Portugal, Italy and Turkey, will be working on a project titled ‘Corporate governance in sport organizations: A gendered approach (GESPORT)’.

The research will explore the complexities of female and BAME board representation and aims to empower women in their professional advancement in decision-making spaces in sports organisations.

Dr Smith said: “Over the past three decades many countries, the UK included, have adopted different initiatives to enact gender equality and advance towards a more egalitarian society. The UK has extended this with the recent introduction of the UK sport governance code that requires 30% female board representation. Bar a few high-profile cases sports boards mostly comply with the specified gender representation.

“However, the picture is considerably bleaker when we consider BAME representation and also take into account overall increases in female sport participation. Furthermore, studies are scarce on how recently introduced policies play out in practice and compare in an international setting.”

The project will first produce an overview of female and BAME representation on the national sports governing boards in each partner country via a database and survey. The project also has a logo design competition and summer course for students and will host an international conference.