Women Make Great Leaders... and Then Some.

Last week, EY Women Athletes Business Network and espnW released a comprehensive study exploring how “sport advances women at every level.”

In it, they’ve shared a WEALTH of stats on women in business and how sport has impacted the success of many, many businesswomen and female leaders today.

Here are some of my favorites from the study:

  • 74% of executive women say a background in sports can help accelerate a woman’s career
  • 94% of women in the C-suite played sports
  •  52% of C-suite women played sports at the university level, compared to 39% of women at other management levels
  •  Women who played sports:
    • See projects through to completion
    • Motivate others
    • Build strong teams
  • Girls who play sports:
    • Have greater social and economic mobility
    • Are less likely to use drugs
    • Have greater personal safety
    • Perform better in school

As a female athlete, businesswomen and entrepreneur, I can’t tell you enough the importance sports played in developing me as a person.  It helped me develop confidence, determination, work ethic, character and leadership skills (among other things).

I also think it’s extremely valuable that we promote this type of information to a number of audiences. From young women dabbling in sports, to the college female athletes and business community at-large, there needs to be more awareness and mindfulness on the subject. Businesses need to know how athletic skills transfer from the field to the boardroom and young females need to have a good understanding of how their athletic skills can be leveraged in life beyond sports.

What shocked me most from the study?

  • 14% of the highest-paid female coaches make about 1/7 of what the higest-paid male coach does
  • In the US, only 4.8% of the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are women; worldwide, women make up just 3.4% of CEOs
  • Women remain under-represented on the majority of sporting boards at international and national levels. There are few national Olympic or commonwealth organizing committees or sport federations where more than 30% of board members are women, and the average is closer to or below 20%.

How are women still so underrepresented in sports leadership roles (even behind the corporate world)? How do we find and fill the gaps? I honestly have a hard time understanding why this is an issue still…in 2015.

What is keeping companies, athletic departments, universities, and sports organizations from hiring more women for leadership and coaching positions?

I know there are organizations like EY Women Athletes Business Network, the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA) and Alliance of Women Coaches all working toward answering questions like this one and filling these gaps in leadership.

How can we make a bigger difference?

  • I’ll be honest, I’m dying to be an advisor or mentor for the EY Women Athletes Business Network. So for me, that’s a starting place. Here’s the link for others interested. Likewise, young women and elite athletes can join the network for all kinds of advice and assistance.
  • Support girls’ and womens’ sports programs. Period.
  • Get men more involved. Women don’t need to fight this battle alone (again, still shocked this is a battle we have to fight at all).
  • Share messaging and information about the importance of sports, where the gaps are and what’s being done to fill them.
  • Provide and share resources to personally and professionally develop women. This is a big one for me. I think college athletic departments, businesses and sports organizations can do more in this area for both women and men. How can we help athletes better transition into the workplace and to have the skills necessary to succeed?

There’s most definitely a lot to think about (and fix) when it comes to the issues we see across the sports today, but I think this is one in which we can really DO something about quickly, with a little effort from everyone. 

What do you think?  

Source: http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/E...