Leadership and Coaching

Women in the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games

Here we provide an evidence-based look at what is known about women’s leadership and participation in the Toyko 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games (held in Summer 2021), along with an examination of media coverage. This is the seventh report in the series that follows the progress of women in the Olympic and Paralympic movement.

Women in the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games: An Analysis of Participation, Leadership and Media Coverage

Chasing Equity: The Triumphs, Challenges and Opportunities in Sports for Girls and Women

Young girls playing lacrosse

A comprehensive report on the current landscape for girls and women in sport including challenges, barriers, progress and opportunities. Using these findings we developed calls to action that stakeholders and the public can use as a springboard for making change. A national survey of more than 2,300 female leaders in sport provides additional insight on where progress has been made, where things have stalled and what steps can be taken to empower girls and women as participants and as leaders within sport.

The report examines the state of girls’ and women’s sports through a broad lens. Areas of focus include: sport participation opportunities for girls and women; the barriers that limit and/or hinder participation; critical health and safety concerns; Title IX and its ongoing role in supporting the infrastructure for equal access to sport participation; the representation of women working in sport and the climate they encounter, including pay equity and equal treatment issues; the level and quality of sport media coverage of female athletes and the representation of women working in sports media.

Chasing Equity Executive Summary

Chasing Equity Quick Fact Sheet

Chasing Equity Report.pdf

Coaching Through a Gender Lens

A breakthrough study that examines the intersection of girls’ sports development with their “current day” experiences and the impact of coaches, through the voices of girls, their parents, and experts in girls’ development and sports.

In partnership with Nike’s Social & Community Impact division, Coaching through a Gender Lens examines girls’ own personal experiences in sport and the degree to which specific coaching practices/experiences impact their participation, motivation, and retention. The findings also highlight the major cultural, environmental, and policy-based barriers that contribute to the gender gap in sport, and the ways in which youth sports organizations serving girls can successfully meet their needs and foster their continued engagement in sport.

Coaching Through a Gender Lens Executive Summary
Power of Parents Research Brief
Coaching Through a Gender Lens Official Press Release here.
Coaching Through a Gender Lens Key Findings Illustration
Coaching Through a Gender Lens Infographic

Coaching Through a Gender Lens Report .pdf (2mb)

Women in the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games

Here we provide an evidence-based look at what is known about women’s leadership and participation in the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. This is the sixth report in the series that follows the progress of women in the Olympic and Paralympic movement.

2018 Olympic and Paralympic Report Executive Summary

2018 Olympic and Paralympic Report Fact Sheet

Women in the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games: An Analysis of Participation, Leadership and Media Coverage

Women in the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games

This study is the fifth report in the series that follows the progress of women in the Olympic and Paralympic movement and explores participation, leadership and media coverage.

The report analyzes the representation and participation of women in the international and U.S. Olympic and Paralympic organizations. Specifically, it examines the types and extent of opportunities that are provided for women in administrative and leadership roles within these structures as well as the chances women have to compete in the Games themselves. This report also assesses the extent that the IOC, IPC and United States Olympic Committee (USOC) are fulfilling their stated missions with respect to fairness to fairness and gender equity and whether or not legal statutes are being upheld.

Women in the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games: An Analysis of Participation, Leadership and Media Coverage

Her Life Depends On It III & Collegiate Coaching and Athletic Administration

To assist readers who have specific interests, the WSF has created a series of Research Briefs from Her Life Depends On It III.

Her Life Depends On It III is the Women’s Sports Foundation’s comprehensive report that reviews existing and emerging research on the links between participation in sport and physical activity and the health and wellbeing of American girls and women. As with the previous editions in 2004 and 2009, this study also confirms that physical activity and sport provides the critical foundation, in no small part, that allows girls and women to lead healthy, strong, and fulfilled lives. Ten years since its first publication, the updated Her Life Depends On It provides an even more comprehensive review of the ever-expanding body of research that demonstrates how important it is for girls and women to participate in sport and physical activity. The report’s contents reflect the review of 1,500 studies, nearly 400 covered since the previous edition.

Her Life Depends On It III and Collegiate Coaching and Athletic Administration

Her Life Depends On It III & Women, Sport and Executive Leadership

To assist readers who have specific interests, the WSF has created a series of Research Briefs from Her Life Depends On It III.

Her Life Depends On It III is the Women’s Sports Foundation’s comprehensive report that reviews existing and emerging research on the links between participation in sport and physical activity and the health and wellbeing of American girls and women. As with the previous editions in 2004 and 2009, this study also confirms that physical activity and sport provides the critical foundation, in no small part, that allows girls and women to lead healthy, strong, and fulfilled lives. Ten years since its first publication, the updated Her Life Depends On It provides an even more comprehensive review of the ever-expanding body of research that demonstrates how important it is for girls and women to participate in sport and physical activity. The report’s contents reflect the review of 1,500 studies, nearly 400 covered since the previous edition.

Her Life Depends On It III and Women, Sport, and Executive Leadership

Beyond X’s & O’s

This nationwide online survey, the largest of its kind to-date, was designed to generate facts and analysis of the workplace experiences and views of both female and male coaches of intercollegiate women’s sports. This research is unique in that it is the first to assess male coaches of women’s teams and make comparisons with female coaches.

The data-driven research confirms there is systemic gender bias; it’s not sporadic or limited to a few institutions. Key findings include:

  • Bias is associated with gender of the coach, not the gender of the team. Many women coaches perceive gender bias, fewer of their male counterparts recognize it.
  • Most women coaches believe it is easier for men to secure high level jobs, salary increases, promotions, and multi-year contracts. 4 out of 5 women coaches think it is easier for men to get top-level coaching jobs.
  • Many women fear unfair treatment, retaliation and loss of their jobs if they express Title IX concerns.
  • More women are less willing to voice their opinions outside of the athletic department and are less involved in decision-making inside the athletic department.

Based on the findings, there are policy recommendations at the conclusion of the report meant to help coaches, athletic administrators and academic administrators better utilize college sports as an institutional vehicle for equitable participation and opportunity. The policy recommendations are also aimed at college presidents and chancellors, without whose support and leadership, the creation of meaningful change in the women’s sports workplace is likely to be impeded.

Beyond X’s and O’s Executive Summary here.
Beyond X’s & O’s Official Press Release here.
Download the Infographic here.

Beyond X's and O's Full Report

Women in the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

This study is the fourth report in the series that follows the progress of women in the Olympic and Paralympic movement. This report analyzes the representation and participation of women in the international and U.S. Olympic and Paralympic organizations.

Specifically, this report examines the types and extent of opportunities that are provided for women in administrative and leadership roles within these structures as well as the chances women have to compete in the Games themselves. This report also assesses the extent that the IOC, IPC and United States Olympic Committee (USOC) are fulfilling their stated missions with respect to fairness to fairness and gender equity and whether or not legal statutes are being upheld.

Women in the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games: An Analysis of Participation and Leadership Opportunities

Women in the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games

The Women’s Sports Foundation is pleased to release Women in the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games: An Analysis of Participation, Leadership, and Media Opportunities. This is the third in the series that follows the progress of women in the Olympic and Paralympic movement. The report provides the most accurate, comprehensive, and up-to-date examination of the participation trends among female Olympic and Paralympic athletes and the hiring trends of Olympic and Paralympic governing bodies with respect to the number of women who hold leadership positions in these organizations. The report also looks at newspaper and internet coverage of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

The study was conducted by Dr. Maureen Smith from California State University, Sacramento and Dr. Alison M. Wrynn from California State University, Long Beach.

A distinguished panel of women’s sports experts reviewed the report and policy recommendations were issued. These recommendations can be found at the conclusion of the report.

Women in the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games: An Analysis of Participation, Leadership and Media Opportunities (PDF 922k)