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Sydney Scoreboard data says disability sport organizations are better than their able-bodied counterparts at attracting women to be on their boards

29.3% of disability sport organizations have women on their boards compared to 10.7% across all organizations

International Working Group on Women and Sport logo. The Sydney Scoreboard is part of a partnership that includes the International Working Group on Women and Sport. Image credit: International Working Group on Women and Sport.

According to a Parasport News analysis of the data available on the Sydney Scoreboard, the overall percentage of women on the boards of disability sport organizations is around 29.3% compared to 10.7% for all sport organizations. Current Sydney Scoreboard data says disability sport organizations are better than their able-bodied counterparts at attracting women to be on their boards.




Of the organizations where data was available, Deaf Polisport Federation: Venezuela had the greatest percentage of female board members at 85.7%. Deaf Sports Federation of New Zealand was close behind with 83.3% of the board being female. Scottish Disability Sport was the next best performer with 66.7% of the board being composed of women. Colombia’s Federación deportistas con parálisis cerebral and Special Olympics Botswana have boards with 60% female membership. Belgium’s Wallonie-Bruxelles: Adapted Sports – Fédération multisports adaptés has a board that is 50% female. These were the only organizations with 50% or more women as members of the their boards.


On the other end of the spectrum, 5 disability organizations had zero women on their boards.  These organizations include Tunisia’s F.T.Sports handicapes, Great Britain’s GB Wheelchair Rugby and Goalball UK, the Icelandic Sport Association of the Disabled, and the Netherlands’s Onbeperkt Sportief. Rounding out organizations with few women on the board is Bangladesh Deaf Sports Federation, which had 3.8% female board composition.  No other organizations had representations less than 10%.


The available from the Sydney Scoreboard suggests that deaf sport organizations are the best when it comes to have women on their boards.  Their average and median representation is over 50%.   Blind sport organizations are the worst performer when it comes to female participation on their board, with an average and median between 17 and 20%.  Historically, this makes sense as there are many more sports, especially on the team side, that are unavailable to women including football and cricket.


Multisport organizations also have more women on their boards compared to sport specific organizations.  The median difference is 33% to 27%, while the average difference was 33% to 21%.  Again, this is something that can be related directly to historical sport opportunities, with some sports being almost exclusively male, including wheelchair rugby and boccia.


Regionally, Oceania, Africa, the Americas and Europe all have comparatively high rates of female participation on their boards, with medians of 55%, 37.5%, 37.3% and 34.5% respectively.  Asia is the worst of the five region with a median of 13.3%.



The Sydney Scoreboard data has some limitations, in that many countries are missing and disability sport organizations have no special labels.  The data is also largely driven by user contributions, and while many contributors have diligently added information for the major national sport organizations, there appears to have been little effort by specialty national contributors to make an effort to include disability sport organizations.  They may have included every major and minor able-bodied organizations, but included zero disability sport organizations.


At the same time, there are some sport organizations that include disability athletes, and have special committees for them inside an organization.  The data on the Sydney Scoreboard would not show this.  Examples of such organizations include Equestrian New Zealand and Swimming Australia.  At the same time, the format for the Sydney Scoreboard appears to be directly about examining able-bodied sport with the IOC called out as a separate section for the IPC.


The data sample is also very, very small because of the aforementioned constraints.  There are only 35 disability sport organizations included in the results of this analysis.



Laura Hale
About Laura Hale (2569 Articles)
Laura Hale is a sport journalist, specializing in Paralympic and disability sport news. Prior to helping found ParaSport-News, she spent two and a half years working as a journalist on Wikinews, a citizen journalism site. As a journalist, she has covered the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, the 2013 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships in La Molina, the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, and a number of other sporting events. She has additional experience with Paralympic sport having worked as a Wikipedian in Residence for the Australian and Spanish Paralympic Committees. She has a PhD in Communications from the University of Canberra.

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