Public Policy, Women, Gender Representation, Development, Decision-making Positions, Swiss Sport System


This contribution addresses the issue of women’s underrepresentation in the decision-making positions of sports organisations with a quantitative descriptive analysis. Building on the results of national and international benchmark studies and a review on measures to improve gender representation, we (a) analyse the evolution of women’s representation in decision-making positions of national sport governing bodies in Switzerland over a 10-year period (2012-2021) and (b) compare the observed evolution with the implementation of hard and soft measures. Our findings show a fluctuation of women’s representation but no clear evidence of a positive and increasing evolution during the investigated period. We also observe that the level of women’s representation compared to men remains low whereas measures have been implemented. We discuss our results with a potential "anticipatory obedience” effect that is detected in the last years of investigation after the announcement of a legally binding target by the federal government and, building on literature, anticipate an increasing positive effect of the measure after its enforcement in 2024. To conclude, our study supports evidence in literature that the implementation of hard measures can contribute to a positive evolution in gender representation in the decision-making positions of sport organisations but still needs more current data to confirm evidence from other countries.


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