The weight of women in Spanish sport: 3% of presidents and 35% on boards


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The presence of women is a minority in all positions of responsibility in sports federations

(10-5-2022) The Spanish sports federations are still far from achieving gender parity. Women continue to be a minority in all positions of responsibility, as confirmed by the ‘Preliminary study on women managers and professionals in Spanish federated sports’ prepared by Adesp.

Women are and will continue to be, “in the short and medium term”, a minority in all the governing bodies of the state and regional sports federations of Spain. This is confirmed by the preliminary study on women managers and professionals in the Spanish federated sport prepared by the Spanish Sports Association (Adesp).

It is one of the most outstanding (and at the same time worrying) conclusions highlighted by this report, which states that more than 15,000 women form part of the structures of the Spanish sports federations. More than 500 sports federations have participated in it: 98% of the national ones and 42% of the regional ones.

The role of women continues to be more than anecdotal in the presidency of the federations: they represent 3% of the state ones and 7% of the autonomous ones. Something greater, although it is still a minority, is her role in the boards of directors: 35% in state entities and 28% in the boards of regional federations.

Their presence is also lower than that of men in the general secretariats or management: 32% in the Spanish federations and 48% in the regional ones, where they almost touch gender parity. Very few are part of committees (28% in the Spanish and 29% in the autonomous communities); delegate commissions (13% to 26%); those who are judges or referees (24% to 34%) and those who act as coaches (25% to 27%).


By autonomous communities, Catalonia is the territory where there are more presidents of regional sports federations. They represent 13% of the total, slightly above the 12% of the Valencian Community, 11% of Asturias and the Balearic Islands and 10% of La Rioja. At the bottom, the Basque Country (2%), Ceuta and Andalusia (3%), Cantabria, Navarra and Extremadura (4%).

As far as female representatives on the boards of directors of regional sports federations are concerned, the Valencian Community leads the list, with 43%. Behind, Melilla (37%) and the Basque Country (35%). The territories with fewer women on the boards of the regional federations are Castilla – La Mancha (17%), Murcia (21%) and Aragón (22%).

At management level, La Rioja leads the ranking with 89%, ahead of Melilla (80%) and a long way from the third on the list, País Vasco (62%). The three communities with fewer women occupying this position are Andalucía (30%), Murcia (33%) and Cantabria (36%).

The Basque Country, for its part, leads the list of communities with the highest percentage of women presidents of sports clubs: 19%. They are closely followed by Murcia (18%) and Galicia (17%). Aragon (5%), Castilla – La Mancha and Melilla (6%) appear in the queue.

The territory with the highest percentage of female coaches is Extremadura (44%), followed by the Canary Islands (38%), the Basque Country, Asturias and Melilla (35%). The three with the worst records are Cantabria (20%); Murcia (21%) and Madrid (22%).


The study concludes that the policies implemented by the CSD regarding women have been “enriching” given that they have increased female participation in the governing bodies of Spanish sports federations.

Being a preliminary study, he points out that “it is necessary to continue deepening with new research on management positions in Spanish sport, at all levels, and that allow us to know the reasons for the current situation.” On the other hand, she considers it “interesting” to be able to analyze the causes and keys why currently “there are still barriers to the presence of women in management positions, in order to draw up an action plan to improve this situation.”

The report points out that technology and new professions can greatly change the job profile within federations. On the other hand, he warns that there are “very few models of female sports managers who can be inspired by” in Spain.

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