The Gender Divide That Fails Football's Bottom Line: The Commercial Case for Gender Equality

Christina Philippou, Beth Clarkson, Stacey Pope, Shubham Jain, Keith D. Parry, Xing Huang, Daniel Plumley, Adam Cox

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


Diversity is what makes up the population at large. And the population at large is where staff and fans come from. Yet while roughly 51% of the UK population is female, that is not the state of play in football clubs.

Gender diversity is rarely considered in conjunction with financial sustainability – the calls for improving diversity are almost always linked to the idea of morality. Yet there is lots of evidence that diversity and financial success are interlinked. The more diversity, the greater the financial success of an organisation, the better the ability of the organisation to bounce back from the effects of the pandemic, and the more likely it is to assess the needs and wants of the communities it serves.

Football is consistently facing financial challenges, from mass financial losses across the pyramid to problems bouncing back from economic recessions.

Financial sustainability relies on income and good decision-making. Income relies on fans. Good decision-making comes of good corporate governance. And both audience and talent comes in more than one gender. While men make up 49% of the population, that is not representative of what we see when looking at football Boards, fan representatives, and/or senior club staff, where men make up the majority if not all positions.

This report considers some of the areas where gender diversity can help football improve itself financially. It looks at where football can learn from other industries and where it can learn from those inside the game.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherFair Game
Commissioning bodyFair Game
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2022


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