THE BLOG

Let's Go for Gold on Sporting Diversity

11/08/2013 13:49 BST | Updated 09/10/2013 10:12 BST

We have some of the best sportswomen in the world. From Tanni Grey-Thompson to Jessica Ennis, Ellen MacArthur to Virginia Wade, to name just a handful. All achieving fantastic success and some of the most inspiring role models we have, who hopefully have already motivated our future sporting champions out onto the track, the field, the pool and pitches.

As a country we know we are great at putting on international sporting events, from the success of the Olympics and Paralympics last year, to Wimbledon and our almost constant football championships.

The story was no different last weekend as over 70,000 men, women, children, professional, amateur, and disabled cyclists all took to London's street for the first ever 'marathon of cycling'. While I wasn't taking part myself (maybe next year?) the pictures from the event look great and if you're anything like me you're now itching to ditch the bus and get back on the Boris bike, well, as long the weather holds out!

While it's great to see the capital host such an event, I wonder are we doing enough to encourage women into sport? Considering how successful we are as a nation at cycling I was shocked to find out the UK didn't already have it's own women's Tour of Britain. Thankfully next year is not only to see the first Women's Cycling Tour of Britain it will also be the first to offer absolute parity with men - making it the only cycling event in the world where women are not seen as second best! Which unfortunately remains all too uncommon in sport.

The sporting world remains extremely male dominated, something we have been working with the Women's Sport & Fitness Foundation to address, especially the number of women working behind the scenes. The status quo is slowly but surely changing, out of the 46 national governing bodies which receive money from Sport England, 40 have women on their boards, that's well above industry average and after 150 years the FA finally has a female board director - Heather Rabbatts CBE, appointed in 2011.

However there still is some way to go. Last season there were 112 Board Directors of the Premiere League football clubs, only six of these were held by women. While the Rugby League has only one female board director - Kate Hardcastle.

Similarly to FTSE companies, sports governing bodies have been given until 2017, to make sure at least a quarter of board members are women, or see their funding cut. An objective that is likely to be missed as currently only 15 meet this target.

UK has a long history of iconic female sporting personalities, let's capitalise on the success of the Olympics to ensure we are getting more women into sport winning medals and directing the industry as a whole.

Lets go for gold on sporting diversity.