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

Posted by ap507 at Jan 24, 2018 10:15 AM |
University of Leicester to work with five European countries to improve women’s accessibility to governing boards in sports federations

Issued by University of Leicester on 24 January 2018

An image of the team is available here:

A researcher from the University of Leicester 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 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, of the University of Leicester’s School of Business, in collaboration with Dr Luisa Esteban (project co-ordinator) (University of Zaragoza, Spain), Dr Emilia Fernandes (University of Minho, Portugal), Dr Tiziana Cimbrini (University of Teramo, Italy) and Dr Gonca Güngör Göksu (Sakarya University, Turkey) will be working on a project titled ‘Corporate governance in sport organizations: A gendered approach (GESPORT)’.

The project began on 1 January and held its first transnational meeting last week in Zaragoza. It will run for three years until the end of December 2020.

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.”

Dr Esteban, the project co-ordinator, said: “A better understanding of the representation of women on the boards of directors in European sporting organizations could identify what gender policies can be proposed and existing ones improved, both by the EU and by individual member countries, to increase women participation in leadership positions of sports organizations.

“Making visible the experiences of women, their roles on the boards of directors, the corporate governance practices in their sports organizations, and the problems and the limitations they face in their professional lives, can help other women advance their careers in contexts where decision-making processes are generated.”

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.

Second, via interviews it will explore female board member’s experiences who have overcome the glass ceiling or who have interesting and fulfilling stories about their participation on sports boards.

The project also has a logo design competition and summer course for students and will host an international conference. 

The total cost of the project is €320,511.




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