Surveys report: Analysis of gender equality policies on the boards of directors of national sports federations: an exploratory analysis

This study analyses the gender equality policies on the NSF boards in the five European countries involved in the project: Italy, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and the UK. The book aims to identify the nature of gender relations inside the NSFs and the gender policies adopted by the governing sports boards, related to gender diversity. Therefore, the online questionnaire discussed earlier, of 41 questions, some of which were inspired by the four gender dimensions according to the Connell model (2002) – production relations, power relations, emotional relations, and symbolic dimensions – was applied to the members of all sports boards in the NSFs between May 2021 and March 2022.

The book can be downloaded from the ZAGUÁN repository of the University of Zaragoza.

With this study, we have tried to gain in-depth knowledge of the gender policies that are being carried out in the sports federations of five European countries. Overall, this first and descriptive approach to data reveals that there is a growing awareness among the directors of NSFs regarding gender policies and the concern of their sports boards with promoting female participation in decision-making processes. In general, the directors who responded strongly believe that the board of his or her federation promotes female participation in decision-making processes. Moreover, they also consider that in the past 15 years, the relationships between the women and men on the boards have become more equal, the Spanish being the directors who perceive the greatest improvement, followed by the UK. This investigation aimed to find out if the recommendations of the International Olympic Committee to increase the presence of women in NSFs had been implemented. These results also show that, according to respondents’ perceptions, the countries that participated in the study are running at different speeds regarding what concerns gender equality in NSFs and in the sports boards of these organizations.

Most of the directors recognized the relevance of gender and diversity policies and their implementation in their organizations, namely, to bring women to the sports boards. However, most of them also considered that women directors continue to be less influential than their male colleagues in all management sectors of the board, which continue to be perceived as segregated by gender.