Gender Quotas in Sports

Gender Quotas in Sports

The IRFU just announced that the union committee unanimously approved a proposal for 40% female representation in the IRFU committee, which should be reached by the end of this year. According to the IRFU CEO, Kevin Potts, this decision is an integral part of their commitment to women in rugby in Ireland. The next step in the process will be to bring it up at the IRFU’s annual council meeting this summer for consideration as well as to look at what law changes would need to be made to take the proposal into effect.


This leads us to the topic of gender quotas. Gender quotas can be used in many ways and are common in the sporting world, as many national sport confederations have started implementing them for their member federations. For example, in Sweden, both genders must be represented by at least 40% in the boards of national sports federations, and in Spain at least 33% must be women.


A study by Celia Valiente (2020) on the Spanish gender quota confirmed that gender quotas do increase the proportion of female board members and make gender inequalities more visible, consequently making it easier to find and combat some of the gender related issues in sport. The study also showed that economic sanctions for non-compliance with the requirements make gender quotas more effective.


We want to hear what you think!

1. Are gender quotas a good approach to make sport and sport federations more gender equal?

2. Are there any other good approaches that could be used?

3. What should be the sanctions for not fulfilling gender quotas?

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