Insights Blog

DataXpresso blog: how to redress the gender imbalance in data, tech and sport

Data, sport and diversity

In this week’s episode of DataXpresso, hosts Helena Schwenk and Eva Murray chat with Hannah Roberts, an analytics consultant in the football industry. The conversation covers how to build a career in sports data, landing a dream job, working with academy teams and helping clubs recruit new players.

Listen to DataXpresso episode 20 here.

In this blog we explore the gender imbalance that exists in the sports analytics space, and showcase the initiatives and people working to make the sector more diverse.

Episode 20 of DataXpresso includes a conversation between Helena, Eva and Hannah about diversity in professional football, and what opportunities there are to encourage girls and young women to pursue a career in data and tech at professional sports clubs.

It’s still a male dominated part of the sports industry. But one notable effort to redress this balance was the recent launch of a diversity code by the Football Association, called the Football Leadership Diversity Code. The voluntary agreement aims to bring more ethnic diversity and a greater gender balance into professional football.

You can read more about Football Leadership Diversity Code project here. Alternatively, read on to discover more pioneers in the space, and learn about the work they’re doing.

“We are trying to modernise football, so it stops relying on its 'little black book' and group of networks, and actually give equal opportunities to those who are qualified. This isn't about tokenism, this is about equal opportunities. To be the same as everyone else.”

Paul Elliott Former Charlton Athletic, Chelsea and Celtic player, and Chair of FA's Inclusion Advisory Board

A Washington coach reaches a first for black women in the NFL

Washington Football Team’s Jennifer King, was promoted to assistant running backs coach, making her the first woman of color to coach in the NFL. With increased focus on diversity, teams across the country are starting to pay attention to women who have often been overlooked for these types of roles. Learn more about what’s required to create opportunities for people from minority groups as they look to contribute their talents and skills in coaching jobs and other senior positions within professional sports.

Emma Hayes: We must use sport to promote ‘harmony and diversity’

What are the opportunities of using sport to drive positive change? Emma Hayes, manager of Chelsea’s women’s team, considers sport as an important element of promoting the right situations – on the pitch and on the side lines, as well as behind the scenes at the corporate level of the sport. Read more about the challenges and chances she sees for making a difference through sport.

Notable women in professional sports

Marina Granovskaia
Marina Granovskaia is Chelsea FC’s chief executive officer, working closely with owner Roman Abramovich and newly signed manager, Thomas Tuchel. The Russian-Canadian is in charge of transfers and contracts and is considered one of the best club directors in world football. Read more about football’s most powerful woman.

Jacqui Oatley
As a sports commentator, presenter and household name on English television, Jacqui Oatley has forged a path for herself in the world of sports and created a trail for other women to follow. She was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for her accomplishments in broadcasting and her services to bringing more diversity to sports.

Stéphanie Frappart
It may have taken until December 2020, but the day came when a woman refereed a men’s Champions League football game, and that woman was Stéphanie Frappart. She acknowledged the potential impact of this event, saying “young women are watching TV, so I know that if I am here on the field, they can see that it’s possible. This is the first thing that will help some young girls to start refereeing.”

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