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The Sport Information Resource Centre

New 2022 Data Shows Sport Boards Continue to Improve their Gender Balance, But Greater Diversity Still Needed

Canadian Women & Sport released the 2022 edition of its Leadership Snapshot today, the most up to date picture of the composition of leadership in sport. The full Snapshot can be found here.

The Snapshot indicates continued improvement in the representation of women in leadership. Women now hold 41% of all board seats at nationally funded sport organizations, an improvement of two percentage points versus last year. Compared to 2019, when federal, provincial and territorial Ministers responsible for sport committed to developing a strategy to reach gender parity by December 2024, this percentage has increased by 5 percentage points.

Women are seeing similar gains in board leadership (38%, plus 10 points vs 2021) and staff leadership (47%, plus 5 points vs 2021).

“The steady growth in representation of women in leadership positions, reflects a meaningful commitment by the national sport system to inclusion. This lays the foundation for continued progression of equity and inclusion throughout these organizations and the sports they lead,” said Allison Sandmeyer-Graves, Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Women & Sport.

“With 95% of individuals responding on behalf of sport organizations reporting that they believe gender equity is either essential or very important to their organization, a figure that has increased over the past three years despite the challenges COVID-19 has posed, the conditions for continuous improvement are favourable.”

The Snapshot also identified significant need for improvement in the leadership representation of BIPOC women (Black, Indigenous and Persons of Colour) and women with disabilities. Although women are approaching parity overall, BIPOC women and women with disabilities remain highly underrepresented. Addressing this should be a priority within national sport organizations in the year ahead. Positively, more organizations are gathering demographic data from staff and board members, which is an important first step in assessing the gaps to close and creating appropriate plans to improve representation.

“We create this Snapshot each year to provide decision-makers with insight and perspective that empowers them to make more equitable and inclusive decisions. We hope that the positive trajectory overall is something that people will celebrate, while also not losing sight of the need for continued priority and effort to close the remaining gaps and maintain the progress achieved,” says Allison Sandmeyer-Graves.

Data for this report was collected from a survey of 90 NSO, MSO and CSI organizations in December 2021 and January 2022. Full methodology can be found in the Snapshot.

Canadian Women & Sport appreciates the support of its sport organization partners for providing their data, making this annual report possible. We are also grateful and acknowledge the support of the Government of Canada.