Only 26.9 per cent of executive positions in international federations are held by women. This is the result of a survey carried out by SIGA on the basis of data provided by the 31 largest international federations.

Annika Sorenstam (International Golf Federation), Petra Sorilng (International Table Tennis Federation) and Marisol Casado (World Triathlon) are the only three women to chair international federations.

These and other data were disclosed today by Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, SIGA Global CEO, during the opening session of the #SIGAWomen Summit on Female Leadership in Sport, held by SIGA and hosted by Mastercard in New York, ahead of the International Women’s Day 2023.

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Talking to the Summit delegates, Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros emphasized SIGA’s discomfort with those numbers:

We have seen some advocating that there should be an ideal of 30%. I disagree completely. There should be no barriers or if there is any criteria, then let it be 50/50. That is fair, but this is where we are. We only have 23 women out of those 31 International Sports Federation who are vice-presidents, and five of them are secretary generals. Only three are chaired by women. My criteria is not how many women are practising sport. That is relevant, but I want to see women having equal opportunities to sit where the decisions are made, to assume their responsibility, their leadership in equal standing, without any relevance for social background, for ethnicity, for any other artificial factor.”

SIGA’s CEO, nevertheless, acknowledged there is an evolution: In 2019 female representation in executive bodies was 18.3%, it regressed in 2021 to 17.8% and is now at 26.9%.

Out of 545 members of executive committees or equivalents, 398 are men and 147 women. Among the 31 federations there are also 23 women in vice-president positions and only 5 women in secretary general positions.

The scenario is even more worrying with regard to female leadership in the Olympic movement. Out of 206 member NOC of the IOC, only 24 are chaired by women.

Given these data, Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros launched a thought provocation that will guide the following panels of the Summit:

I close my initial intervention by appealing to your conscience, by appealing to the leader that lives inside each one of you. Is this the best we can do? What are you prepared to do to change the needle?

The solution was presented by Katie Simmonds, SIGA’s Global COO and Managing Director of the SIGAWomen Programme. Everyone, from men to women, brands, and sports organisations, need to engage in the mission to Embrace Equity and foster Female Leadership. Katie Simmonds flagged the existence of the SIGAWomen Mentorship Programme, which is transforming the lives of young women every year.

Stay tuned for more info on he Summit.


SIGA is the world´s leading organisation for Sports Integrity. Supported by more than 200 international multi-industry supporters, we are creating a whole new landscape for the global sports industry by promoting the implementation of the highest integrity standards and delivering independent global rating and certification for Sport.

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