Sport & business

Shifting the funding landscape for women’s sport – improving how the system works.

All high-performance organisations pay close attention to their talent, markets, brand, innovation, risk management and reputation. These are business fundamentals, not fringe concerns – and each one is directly affected by gender diversity and inclusion – or the lack of it.

What has this got to do with the funding of women’s sport? A company that chooses to invest in women’s sport sends out a clear message about their brand and their people: a message of a forward-thinking, intelligent and innovative business that has the ability to recruit and retain the best talent whilst also sourcing new avenues of opportunity. Meaningful sponsorship can also provide proof to a cynical world that statements about being inclusive are more than just talk.

We see our role as being a catalyst to help shift funding and sponsorship decisions; we are able to act as the ‘provocative glue’ that connects the parties necessary to move women’s sport from worthy to irresistible through investment.

Amongst those groups looking to advance women’s sport – it could reasonably be argued that WST has the strongest claim to understanding and seeking to develop the links between sport and business.  Our delivery ambition to change the funding landscape is being realised through alliances with strong partners that can amplify our impact.

Our activities

  • In 2014-15, our Funding Development Board brought together senior figures from sport and business to clarify the “value proposition” and the evidence base for investing in women’s sport.  They continue to work with us to define and implement activities that will change the funding landscape.
  • WST co-chairs the 30% Club’s Sport and Business Group with Women Ahead, which provides extraordinary access to leading businesspeople who are committed to progressing gender equality in the workplace. Such partnerships enhance our clout and allow us greater access to influential players (e.g. media, government, and senior corporate decision makers).
  • We have forged a strong alliance with Y Sport Group, the new sports management and sponsorship consultancy focused solely on the strategic and commercial development of women’s sport.
  • Our annual #BeAGameChanger Awards event showcases progressive case studies, and spotlights the statistics and decision-making that needs to change.

Inclusive Businesses Perform Better

  • Gender diversity is linked to corporate performance, companies with at least one female board member outperform all-male boards by 26% worldwide (Credit Suisse)
  • The most diverse companies have an operating profitability on average 14% higher than the least diverse companies (McKinsey)
  • There is a positive correlation between gender equality and per capita GDP (World Economic Forum)