"The Sport Management resource for volunteers in sports"

Woman in Sports

If you are in sports, either as a professional or a volunteer, you must have realized that SPORTS MANAGEMENT covers a lot of different areas and topics. One day you may be on the playing field, talking with coaches and athletes, and the other day you are wearing your best clothes to have a meeting with a politician, a sponsor or perhaps a lawyer.

One of the areas I would like to elaborate on is “Woman in Sports”. Although the movement of female emancipation has started longer than 100 years ago, it seems that nowadays sports is still to be considered as a “Man’s world”. Look at the number of females around you, as coaches or board members, and I bet that you can conclude that they are in minority.

On the international sports platform there were different initiatives started, to increase the number of women in sports. During the Olympic Games in France (Paris-1900) only 2% of all the athletes were female. It took 80 years to get more attention for female athletes, as in 1980 it became a priority on the Olympic level. During the last 30 years sports as tennis, soccer, judo, softball, taekwondo, triathlon and wrestling were added to the Olympic sports program. The result was that the number of female Olympic athletes fortunately increased to 45% during the Games in China (Beijing-2008). But nevertheless this development, we still need to conclude that there is a lot of progress to be made. It is a fact that female boxers are only allowed in the Olympic Games starting 2012 (London).

Unfortunately the increase of women as sport administrators has not increased together with the female athletes. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) only recommended in 2000 on the international level to have 10% of sports executive committees (and boards) to be a woman. Only half of the International Sports Federations (IF) realized this. Additionally it was recommended to double this number in the year 2005, which was successfully reported in only 30% of the same IF’s.

One of the dangers of increasing the number of woman in sports management positions is that the focus is only on the sexe, instead of the capacity to operate on a management level. I suspect that exactly that is one of the reasons that the progress is not going so rapidly.

How is the ratio between males and females in your sports organization? Do you have any special initiatives to attract more females as a coach, board member or any other function? Please inform all our readers in the comment section below.