From the minor leagues to the Beijing Games, Canadian sport leadership missing the mark on gender equity
E-Alliance, Canada’s research hub for gender equity in sport released its inaugural scorecard on gender equity, revealing significant gaps in representation, particularly in leadership ranks of Canadian sport. Researchers empirically evaluated specific components of gender equity based on studies examining representation and participation. Some of the key grades are:
· National Sport Organization (NSOs) leadership positions at Board President level: D+
· National Sport Organization leadership (CEO) positions at CEO level: B
· NSO Senior Staff scored an average of B but this included 30% of NSOs receiving a failing grade of F for gender equity
The GE scorecard also reveals that:
· Only 11.8 percent of Team Canada coaches at the Beijing Games are women.
· There were no women coaching Canadian minor league hockey in 2019-2020 and women accounted for only three percent of coaches in AA and AAA hockey.
· Canadian university and college level hockey is the exception, with close to equal participation rates and 24% of coaches are women.
“Our organization is committed to empirically evaluating the current climate for Canadian women and girls in sport across all levels,” says Professor Ann Pegoraro, who is one of E-Alliance’s three co-directors. “We recognize that there has been progress at the interuniversity level. This is a result of deliberate decisions to bring more women to the table. However, in all other organizations, men continue to occupy most decision-making positions.”
The scorecard also examined the representation of women athletes in sport, which is more equitable, but still has ample room for improvement. Researchers say that the findings reflect systemic gender inequity in some areas of Canadian sport culture. “Without specific policies to bring more women and more women of diverse identities into leadership positions, advancements in gender equity cannot be assured,” says Professor Gretchen Kerr, who is dean of University of Toronto’s Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education and an E-Alliance co-director. “Instead, an intentional approach that creates leadership positions for women and then supports them is essential to move the needle on gender equity.”
E-Alliance is a knowledge sharing hub made up of scholars and partner organizations from across Canada who are dedicated to gender+ equity in sport.
About the Scorecard
The grading scale is based on 2022 The Institute for Diversity and Ethic in Sport Report Card.
The data used for the scorecard evaluation came from the data collected in partnership for the 2020-21 CWS Leadership Snapshot, COC data released on Team Canada at the 2022 Games and Hockey Canada’s 2019-2020 annual report.