Female representation on the boards of funded National Governing Bodies of Sport


In line with its Policy on Women in Sport, Sport Ireland today published 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.”