Gender Equality in Sport

Media Release

Tracking gender equality on and off the field accelerates the pace of change

Pathway to Gender Equality in Sport: Progress Report 2019–2020
14 July 2021

Champions of Change Sport Group release the 2019–20 Progress Report on the Pathway to Gender Equality in Sport.

The second annual progress report tracks improvement and provides transparency on Group-wide and organisation performance on gender equality across 26 measures under the five categories of: leadership, participation, pathways, investment and practical actions.

Launched in 2019, the Champions of Change Pathway to Gender Equality in Sport framework was the first collaboration to bring together leaders across the sport sector to monitor and report on a consistent set of measures to accelerate gender equality in sport, including pay equality.

The 20 Members of the Champions of Change Sport Group represent Australia’s federated sports, professional teams, national and state-based organisations and share a strong vision and commitment to collective outcomes on gender equality.

The overall pace of change is slow across the industry and there is some way to go to achieve gender equality, particularly in terms of women in leadership and progress towards pay equality for elite women athletes.

Champions of Change Sport Group Members focus and take practical actions to advance more and diverse women into leadership positions; develop more inclusive sporting cultures; and pay equality.

The annual reporting metrics in the Pathway to Gender Equality in Sport framework capture the picture of gender equality in individual organisations, and the combined reporting of the Group provides a robust and consistent repository of collective data and experience.

The 2019–2020 Progress Report is the second report and presents the shift from capturing meaningful baseline data for all organisations to developing year-on-year analysis ensuring that the reporting adds insight that can drive practical action.

“As a group we made the commitment to annual reporting gender equality measures within our organisations because we recognise there is more work to be done across the sector,” says Craig Tiley, CEO of Tennis Australia.

“We started with the ambition to develop a consistent set of measures and indicators to gain insight and track progress. With the right measures in place across the sector we move more intentionally to accelerate progress on gender equality” says Tiley.

The 2019–2020 report presents areas of progress across the organisations since first reported in FY 2018–19:

  • 35.3% of organisations have achieved gender balance of Board Directors (40–60%), up from 29.4%
  • 49.5% of total funded development pathway opportunities are for female athletes, up from 39.0%
  • 47.1% of organisations have achieved equity in prize money for elite athletes/teams, up from 43.8%
  • 100% of organisations have achieved equal access to resources for elite athletes, up from 87.5%
  • 53.7% of promotion and public appearance opportunities are allocated to women athletes, up from 19.9%
  • 34.9% of promotional/marketing spend is dedicated to women in sport/women’s competition, up from 22.8%

The 2019–2020 report also confirms that increasing women’s representation in Key Management Personnel and in High Performance Roles (including coaching) remains a challenge for the sport sector:

  • 30.8% women’s representation in Key Management Personnel, down from 38.2% when first reported in 2018–19
  • 33.8% women’s representation in High Performance Roles, down from 35.8% when first reported in 2018–19

Nick Hockley, CEO of Cricket Australia, says now is more important than ever to maintain focus on gender equality in the sports sector.

“As leaders, our continued commitment to gender equality, reporting and transparency is critical to informing our strategies and developing comprehensive action plans to ensure we are progressing towards a gender equal future and minimise the adverse effects of the pandemic on gender equality,” said Nick.

“The record-breaking crowd at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup final in March 2020, was immediately followed by the significant impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic. We have seen what can be done. It is so important we keep pushing for equality in cricket and build on the momentum we established before the pandemic,” says Nick.

Reporting in the Pathway to Gender Equality in Sport, requires organisations to measure women’s representation in governance and leadership as well as participation and track talent pipelines into both individual organisations and sports.

Ameet Bains, CEO of Western Bulldogs, says the sport sector needs to continue to put in the work to develop and attract diverse talent to ensure growth and sustainability on and off the field.

“Recognising and developing the talent of all our athletes and all our people is critical to the success of any sport. When our Group started reporting there were baseline gender equality issues like differences in access to facilities and travel policies that needed to be addressed to support men and women in high performance environments. We are pleased that there has been a significant improvement in these areas and we collectively continue to take the actions necessary to create the environments and pathways to attract more women into our teams, to retain the best talent and to grow and develop that talent into strong leaders” says Bains.

Elizabeth Broderick AO, Champions of Change Coalition Founder, and Sport Group Convenor says the sport industry has the ability to influence gender equality globally.

“Sport has unparalleled influence to shift cultures and mindsets across the world. Our Members have stepped up and committed to transparent annual reporting and review, so we can accelerate the pace of change and move our organisations towards equality – for the benefit of all women athletes, coaches, leaders, participants and fans,” says Broderick.

Members of the Champions of Change Sport Group will use ‘Pathway to pay equality in sport – Progress report 2019–20’ to inform and develop comprehensive action plans to accelerate progress on gender equality.

Download Pathway to gender equality in sport: Progress Report 2019-2020


For more information please contact:

Lisa Jervis, Communications Director, Champions of Change Coalition

0419 432 239 | [email protected]

About Champions of Change Sport

The Champions of Change Sport Group was established in 2015. The Sport Group includes leaders from every major sport in Australia, and of some of Australia’s most successful sporting clubs. The group is focused on advancing women in leadership, pay equality and creating safe, respectful and inclusive sporting environments.

Champions of Change Sport Group:

  • Andrew Abdo – CEO, National Rugby League
  • Mark Anderson – CEO, Collingwood Football Club
  • Ameet Bains – CEO, Western Bulldogs
  • Alex Baumann – CEO, Swimming Australia
  • Brian Cook – CEO, Geelong Football Club
  • Robert Dalton – Acting CEO, Sport Australia
  • Marne Fechner – CEO, AusCycling
  • Matt Finnis – CEO, St Kilda Football Club
  • Brendon Gale – CEO, Richmond Football Club
  • Nick Hockley – CEO, Cricket Australia
  • James Johnson – CEO, Football Australia
  • Cain Liddle – CEO, Carlton Football Club
  • Andy Marinos – CEO, Rugby Australia
  • Kate Palmer AM – Non-Executive Director
  • Ian Robson – CEO, Rowing Australia
  • Ron Steiner – Interim CEO, Netball Australia
  • James Sutherland – CEO, Golf Australia
  • Giles Thompson – CEO, Racing Victoria
  • Craig Tiley – CEO, Tennis Australia
  • Adam Weir – CEO, Surf Life Saving Australia (joined the Sport Group in 2021)
About Champions of Change Coalition

The Champions of Change Coalition is a globally recognised, innovative strategy for achieving gender equality, advancing more and diverse women in leadership and building respectful and inclusive workplaces. In the strategy men of power and influence step up beside women leaders, forming the Champions of Change Coalition, to lead and be accountable on gender equality issues in their organisations and communities. The Champions of Change Coalition brings together more than 250 leaders from 220 organisations with over 1.5 million employees across 155 countries.

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