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


Comments are closed.

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.