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The FA Women in Leadership Programme in association with the IoD

22 Jun 2018

With memories still fresh of the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia, thoughts in boardrooms are turning to female representation in both sport, and business in general.

Speaking to Grazia Magazine, Jo Tongue, director of Women in Football and CEO of the sports agency Tongue Tied Media shared that “only 7% of directors in football are women and 10% of qualified coaches. We are working hard to change stats like this but it doesn’t happen overnight.”

The Institute of Directors is a vocal advocate of female leadership on boards, and openly welcomes conversation and debate on the topic – from its Enterprising Women initiative and forums to the halls of government. The issue of the underrepresentation of women in senior positions is not unique to one sector, and the IoD is working hard to address the balance in a historically male-dominated area – football.

This is not a new issue, and in 2015, The Football Association (FA) sought to address its lack of female representation in leadership roles, particularly in the boardroom. In order to address this imbalance, The FA outlined a two-point strategy to identify, support and mentor women with the potential and commitment to hold board positions specifically in football. The IoD worked with The FA to design and deliver a ground-breaking, pragmatic and impactful leadership programme. The project took place in 2017, spanning several months to ensure each participant had time to learn, absorb and implement the teachings of the programme, integrating them into their day-to-day responsibilities and behaviours at The FA.

A dynamic 5-month blended learning programme was devised by the IoD in partnership with The FA, encompassing diagnostic tools, interactive workshops and 1-to-1 coaching support. The FA nominated ten female colleagues to undergo the IoD’s flagship leadership guidance and training to tackle the following overarching goals:

  • To widen the football talent pool
  • To clarify anti-discrimination regulation and sanctions
  • To instil confidence in reporting discrimination
  • To increase knowledge and awareness

The outcomes of this training were monitored over a period of months after the conclusion of the project, and can be explored in further detail in the case study below.

View the case study



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To find out more about bespoke training or coaching with the IoD, or to schedule a consultation or board evaluation with a member of our dedicated team, visit our training pages.


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