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International Business Times UK
International Business Times UK
Danielle Summer

Businesses Will Benefit From Recruiting Female Athletes As Their Leaders, Report Suggests

A report found that 94% of female executives have a background in sport. (Credit: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

A recent report suggests that to increase the number of leading roles represented by females and to boost career success amongst women, girls should be introduced to regular sports practices from a young age.

After conducting a collaborative global study, that analysed male and female C-Suite executives between 2013 and 2016, EY and espnW found that almost 95 per cent (94%) of female executives have a background in sport.

More than 50 per cent of those who were involved in sports at a young age, participated at a university level.

EY is one of the global leaders in consulting and tax services, while espnW is an international multi-platform that focuses on inspiring women through sports.

The organisations also noted that 61 per cent of the women executives who admitted to playing sports, said that it has contributed positively to their career success, confidence and advancement.

"With their problem-solving skills and team-building experiences, women who have played sports are uniquely positioned to lead in the corporate world," declared EY.

The World Economic Forum has predicted that it will take more than a century, for women to achieve political, social and economic equality.

According to IMG Academy, a sports school based in the US, "many successful employees played sports as kids, and the characteristics that they bring to the workplace can partly be attributed to their time as an athlete".

Meghan Healy, a senior student at IMG Academy, noted: "A good athlete is someone who never gives up and they do all the extra work like working on their skills outside of practice and going to the gym on their own and putting in all of the extra stuff, going above and beyond."

Learning these skills from a younger age encourages women to be competitive and confident in their chosen sector – according to Healy.

After making history and becoming UEFA European champions in the summer of 2022, the England Lionesses constructed an open letter to former prime ministerial contenders Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss.

The letter was signed by all 23 players after their win at Wembley Stadium and declared: "Not only should we be offering football to all girls, we also need to invest in and support female PE teachers too."

The call for compulsory PE sessions for female students comes after it was reported that more than 38 per cent of secondary schools in England cut the timetabled PE sessions for girls aged 14 to 16.

The UK government responded to the calling with a new School Sport Plan that generates high-quality and equal access to sports and PE sessions for all pupils.

While addressing the United Nations General Assembly, the President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, said: "Women athletes and Olympians can serve as inspirational role models for young girls around the world."

"Sport is a powerful platform to foster gender equality and empower women and girls," he added, going on to note: "One of the key missions of the IOC is, in fact, to encourage and support the promotion of women in sport at all levels based on the principle of gender equality."

In agreement with Bach, a UN report also recognises how female participation in sport "challenges gender stereotypes and discrimination", allowing it to be "a vehicle to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls".

"Women in sport leadership can shape attitudes towards women's capabilities as leaders and decision-makers, especially in traditional male domains," the UN report declared.

Concluding its collaborative report, EY urged business leaders to "understand the direct relationship between athletics and careers".

After acknowledging how sports involvement can positively impact a woman's career, business leaders should "partner with the athletic departments of universities to identify high-potential candidates, much as they do with finance, accounting or business departments" – according to EY.

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