By Ken Reed
The Summer Olympics have come and gone. As usual, there were plenty of highs and lows associated with the Games.
One issue that continues to be a low when it comes to international sports is the glaring lack of women in key leadership positions for international sports federations (IFs).
“The leadership in international sport is an exclusive club of men,” says Richard Lapchick, noting the overwhelming conclusion of the 2016 International Sports Report Card on Women in Leadership Roles. Lapchick is the director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport which conducted the study.
A key finding to support Lapchick’s contention is that of the 35 IFs affiliated with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), only two (Triathlon and Curling) are headed by a woman. Several IFs, including basketball and swimming, have no women on their executive committees.
Val Ackerman, founding president of the WNBA and currently commissioner of the Big East Conference, wrote a piece for Sports Illustrated this week that highlighted just how glaring this problem is.
“The Rio Olympics underscores one of the fundamental contradictions in women’s sports today,” wrote Ackerman.
“On the plus side, the performances of elite female athletes are commanding respect and headlines worldwide, and the number of women who watch and consume sports of all kinds continues to grow. At the same time, the inclusion of women in the halls of power of influential sports organizations remains a frustrating and slow-moving work in progress.”
Ackerman points out the critical role IFs play, including developing players and coaches, authorizing funding, organizing competitions, and devising marketing and television strategies to broaden the reach of sports to fans.
“Without more women as part of their leadership tiers, IFs are missing important input as they make decisions critical to the future growth and health of both men’s and women’s sports worldwide,” according to Ackerman.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
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Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
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Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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