Board Composition

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A biannual snapshot

Gender Balance on Boards

Progress Towards Gender Balance on Boards 

National Governing Body Leadership Composition Snapshot

In line with its Policy on Women in Sport, Sport Ireland will be publishing a biannual snapshot of female representation on the boards of funded National Governing Bodies of Sport.

The first update shows that females make up an average of 29% of boards across funded National Governing Bodies. This is an increase from 24% when the Sport Ireland Policy on Women in Sport was published in 2019.

Leadership and Governance is one of the four key strategic areas on which the Sport Ireland Policy on Women in Sport is built, along with Coaching & Officiating, Visibility and Active Participation.

In this regard, a key objective of the Leadership and Governance target area is to progress towards greater gender balance in board membership of funded bodies. The second objective is to provide a pathway for women aspiring to become leaders of funded bodies.

Commenting on the publication of the statistics, Chair of Sport Ireland’s Women in Sport Steering Committee, Lynne Cantwell, said:

“Boards are responsible for the direction & performance of Sport in Ireland. To do this well, all our Irish Sports need to draw on diverse perspectives and a variety of viewpoints in order to accurately represent sport & sports people in our country. The Women in Sports Steering Committee is committed to balancing board composition by increasing female representation to achieve gender equity.”

Action 32 of the Government’s National Sports Policy 2018-2027 tasks National Governing Bodies with developing equality action plans and setting gender diversity targets.

Sport Ireland Director of Participation and Ethics, Dr Una May, commented:

“As part of Sport Ireland’s responsibilities under the National Sport Policy, we are monitoring progress and providing periodical public updates on the progress of our funded bodies towards gender diversity, in particular the make-up of boards. It is encouraging to see progress in this area and we will continue to provide support to our funded bodies to keep up the momentum.”

The purpose of this update is to outline the current position, the progress made since the publication of the Sport Ireland Women in Sport Policy and highlight some of the action being taken across the sector as part of Sport Ireland’s Women in Sport Programme.

Sport Ireland Women in Sport Lead, Nora Stapleton, added: “The work of the Sport Ireland Policy on Women in Sport and Women in Sport Programme invests in female leadership capacity, increases availability of skilled female board members and guides governance best practice that supports gender equity. Publishing these biannual Board & Leadership statistics aims to help all sports in Ireland achieve these goals as we aim to help Irish sport thrive from grassroots to elite sport.”

Click here to view the Board Composition Snapshot March 2020


Board Representation

The information contained within this update has been provided by National Governing Bodies. It is encouraging to note that 23 National Governing Bodies have achieved a target of at least 30% females on their board.

NGBs that have obtained 30% female representation

Irish Tenpin Bowling Association

50%

Gymnastics Ireland

44%

Irish Wheelchair Association Sport

50%

Ladies Gaelic Football Association

50%

Mountaineering Ireland

55%

National Community Games

56%

ONAKAI

42%

Rowing Ireland

55%

Basketball Ireland

38%

Fencing Ireland

45%

Horse Sport Ireland

38%

Irish Martial Arts Commission

32%

Irish Orienteering Association

36%

Croquet Association of Ireland

30%

Hockey Ireland

45%

Irish Squash

33%

Irish Taekwondo Union

33%

Racquetball Association of Ireland

30%

Special Olympics Ireland

46%

Tennis Ireland

31%

The Camogie Association

88%

Vision Sports Ireland

33%

Volleyball Ireland

63%

 


National Governing Bodies with the most balanced board composition have a 60/40 gender split.

 

NGBs that have balanced board composition  i.e. 60/40 split

Irish Tenpin Bowling Association

50%

Gymnastics Ireland

44%

Irish Wheelchair Association Sport

50%

Ladies Gaelic Football Association

50%

Mountaineering Ireland

55%

National Community Games

56%

ONAKAI

42%

Rowing Ireland

55%

Special Olympics Ireland

46%

Fencing Ireland

45%

 

While the increase in overall board composition across National Governing Bodies has increased from 24% to 29%, the journey to gender balance on boards is in its infancy. Over the coming six to twelve months, Sport Ireland will continue to pursue and seek new means and opportunities in order to support and assist funded bodies as they look to change this trend.


Sport Ireland Women in Sport Programme   Leadership & Governance

While the figures in some National Governing Bodies may indicate that they have some distance to travel before achieving appropriate gender diversity on boards (for example, 13 NGBs have boards of 10% or less females on their board), it is important to acknowledge the great work that is underway in order to speed up the process of achieving gender diversity. Numerous National Governing Bodies, through support from Sport Ireland’s Women in Sport Programme, are in the process of delivering female leadership training across their sport.

 

Sample programmes

Canoeing Ireland and Athletics Ireland are just two examples of programmes currently underway.

Click the arrows below to read more.

Canoeing Ireland

Current board composition, 8 male, 2 female (25%)

Women in Sport Programme: Bridge the Gap

The programme will use a strategic framework of mentors and workshops to provide females with the toolkit and resources to fully realise their leadership potential and give them the appetite and confidence to take leadership roles, become role models and mentor future leaders.

Canoeing Ireland CEO Moira Aston said; “The Bridge the Gap program has helped us identify and recruit 35 ambassadors with a variety of experiences and backgrounds within our sport but with a shared goal to develop their leadership potential, raise awareness of and breakdown barriers to participation and mentor the next generation of strong female leaders.  The positive feedback and engagement with program participants has opened a conversation that has transcended our expected outcomes and will enrich our sport into the future”.

Athletics Ireland

Current board composition, 12 male, 4 female (25%)

Women in Sport Programme: Forerunners

Through the Forerunners programme, Athletics Ireland aim to equip female club service officers and leaders in becoming more effective and efficient in their operations. The programme will address the importance of female leadership in athletics, its important role in promoting good governance whilst creating invaluable experiences for those involved in the programme. The programme will consist of three core modules, namely Club Development, Coaching, Communication and Connectivity and include an action-orientated mentorship programme to support and encourage future female leaders in sport to reach their potential.

Athletics Ireland CEO Hamish Adams stated his aims for the project, “Athletics gender participation is extremely balanced at a competition and recreational level yet as a sport we are struggling to encourage women into leadership roles in coaching, administration and officiating. The Women in Sport programme led by Lily-Ann O’Hora aims to identify and remove barriers to female progression into our sports leadership roles. We value the considerable investment in this programme from both our membership and Sport Ireland and we sincerely believe that gender balance across all aspects of our organisation will deliver continued success for Athletics Ireland”.

Other National Governing Bodies that are currently delivering, or will implement, a female leadership and/or governance initiative include:

•           Swim Ireland

•           Irish Athletic Boxing Association

•           Cricket Ireland

•           Triathlon Ireland

•           Golf Ireland*

•           Irish Rugby Football Union

•           Tennis Ireland

•           Hockey Ireland

•           Badminton Ireland

•           Olympic Federation of Ireland

•           GAA Handball

•           Irish Olympic Handball Association

*ILGU and GUI are currently in the process of merging; Golf Ireland is the name being used for all Women in Sport programmes

All of these programmes are supported through Sport Ireland’s Women in Sport Programme.

Other programmes being delivered by NGBs outside of the Women in Sport programme funding, but having a positive impact in their organisation, are Learn to Lead (LGFA) and Emerging Leaders Programme (FAI).


Date for the Diary: Thursday 19th March 2020

The Olympic Federation of Ireland, with the support of Sport Ireland’s Women in Sport investment, will host a one day Gender Equality Conference in the Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin, from 9.00am – 4.30pm.

The conference is welcomed by Sport Ireland and is another example of Women in Sport investment being utilised to advance gender equality in the sports sector.

Sarah Keane, President of the Olympic Federation of Ireland and Chair of the European Olympic Committees Gender Equality Commission said,  “The International line up of various high profile Olympic family male and female key note speakers and panel delegates will no doubt lend itself to some really interesting discussions and we hope delegates will walk away with some concrete actions from the conference.   Gender Equality is about having equal representation across all areas and sport should be no different.  

“We look forward to welcoming the lead representatives from the NGB’s and in particular those from the top down who can  make changes on Women in Sport within their organisations and those who are interested to take action and continue on our gender balance journey.  The support from Sport Ireland is greatly appreciated and we are excited about this event.”

Further information on the conference please contact linda@olympicsport.ie

 

Gender Equality Conference

Board Composition Snapshot