Gender Equity in Coaching
By accessing this page, sport leaders will be able to utilize the Gender Equity in Coaching Framework and Self-Assessment tool to improve conditions for women in coaching by identifying the factors that can be changed within your organization.
Where are we now?
Current coaching data indicates that women are under-represented as coaches both nationally and internationally. The Coaching Association of Canada reported that of individuals who identified taking a National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) course and recorded it within the Locker (a dedicated online tracking system) in 2019 only 34% were women, compared to 66% men and 0.1% another gender. With the caveat that these numbers do not include any non-NCCP training entered in the Locker or any training undertaken outside of the Coaching Association of Canada purview, there is an obvious gap in rates of training for women compared to men. Data collected from U SPORTS and the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) shows that 26% of head coaches are women and that there has been no significant improvement to the percentage of women coaches in post-secondary institutions over a four-year time span.1
The issues influencing this trend are mostly institutional and societal. Some examples of institutional barriers include greater discrimination than coaches who are men, barriers to hiring and professional advancement, salaries, access to resources, and more.2 Societal barriers such as sports and gender, networking and access discrimination.3 While creating programs to help prepare women for coaching and leadership roles within sport, the system itself must work to be more inclusive so that it appeals to and retains diverse women coaches.
Sport organizations have a responsibility to challenge the status quo, combat biases in the coaching pathway, and foster an inclusive culture in sport to actively advance gender equity in coaching.
Want to learn more about the current landscape of coaching in Canada? Check out our latest blog post.
Why is a more equitable coaching landscape beneficial?
Coaches are the most visible and influential leaders in sport. They shape the day-to-day lived experiences of participants and influence the growth and development of sport.
We can’t be what we don’t see. According to a recent study, women athletes who did enter coaching were 4.1X more likely to stay in coaching if they had a woman as a head coach.4 That tells us that representation and role models are integral to retaining women who are already in the field.
By working to ensure the Canadian sport coaching landscape is more equitable, will we see an increase in women’s participation in coaching and leadership roles, which will help to increase in girls’ participation in sport and physical activity.5
That’s why we’ve partnered with the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC) to establish the Gender Equity in Coaching Framework and Self-Assessment Tool to identify the key areas for organizational change to improve the conditions for women in coaching.
*Much of the data referenced in this work focuses on the inequities of coaching on a binary gendered basis. Within coaching and sport, there are diverse gender identities and that includes transgender and non-binary individuals. For more information on our position, please see our Position Statement: Trans Inclusion in Sport.
The Gender Equity in Coaching Framework
There are multiple intersecting and complex factors that can disrupt the career trajectory for women in coaching. Women coaches are impacted personally and professionally by stereotypes, discrimination and gendered organizational cultures that favour advancement opportunities for their men counterparts.6 Even with women’s sport, we see that only 26% of head coaches are women with U SPORTS and the CCAA. Because of this, the sport system suffers as it misses out on the benefits of diversity in perspective, lived experience and approaches that girls and women bring to sport.
The Gender Equity in Coaching Framework focuses on factors within an organization’s control, guiding sport leaders to meaningful and sustainable changes that will improve the outcome for women in coaching. These include:
Complete The Gender Equity in Coaching Self-Assessment Tool to determine your organization’s areas of strength and potential areas of improvement to advance gender equity in coaching.
- Why Women Coaches Matter – Tucker Centre
Governance and Policies
- Building Inclusive Governance – A toolkit for not-for-profit boards – Ryerson University
- Board Diversity Policy Template – Osler
Strategies and Operations
- Same Game Online Toolkit – CWS
- Gender Equity Planning Worksheet – CWS
Coach Development Pathways
- Athletic Administration Best Practices of Recruitment, Hiring and Retention of Female Collegiate Coaches – Tucker Centre
- 50 Ways to Fight Gender Bias – Lean In
- 20 Cognitive Biases That Affect Your Decision Making – Life Hacker
Capacity Building and Training
- Keeping Girls in Sport E-Learning Module – Jumpstart, CWS, CAC
- Unconscious Bias Training Module – Canada Research Chairs
Environment and Culture
- 10 Ways to Create a Sport Culture for Valuing Women Leaders – Tucker Centre
- Prevalence of Maltreatment Among Current and Former National Team Athletes – AthletesCAN and UofT
Programs and Initiatives
- Female Coach Mentorship Model – CAC, CWS
Funding and Resources
- WISE Fund Grant – CWS
- E-Learning on Pay Equity – Pay Equity Commission
Marketing and Communications
- Inclusive Language Guide – University of Victoria
- Shifting the Narrative About Women Sport Coaches – Tucker Centre
- A Practical Handbook on Accessible Graphic Design – Accessibility
Measuring and Celebrating Success
For more statistics on gender equity in coaching, follow the links below:
- Underrepresentation of women in sport leadership: A review of research
- Key Considerations for Advancing Women in Coaching
- The Alberta Women in Sport Leadership Project: A Social Learning Intervention for Gender Equity and Leadership Development
- Developing female coaches: Strategies from women themselves