Women in sports still face roadblocks

LOS ANGELES –  Women in Sports and Events Los Angeles (WISE LA) announced some recent findings from their WISE LA Impact Survey, a six-phase research and data analysis project conducted in 2020. With increased conversations around equal pay, equity and inclusion, WISE LA felt compelled to further examine the current state of women in the business of sports and events.

“We recognized there was a need for data to support our ever-growing chapter in making a positive, lasting impact for women in the business of sports in Los Angeles and Orange County,” said former WISE LA president Sarah Musgrove.

“The data that was collected throughout 2020 has painted a clear picture of the greatest needs for women in the business of sports here in Southern California. Everyone’s contribution to the project was the first step in influencing where time, energy, and financial resources will be invested to make our industry an inclusive, supportive place for all,” said Musgrove who served as president from 2018 to 2020.

In partnership with The Pepperdine Graziadio Business School and MacKenzie Corporation, WISE LA surveyed 460 people in Southern California and came away with strong findings on representation and the prevalence of harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

Orlando, FL – AUGUST 23: Ariel Atkins #7 of the Washington Mystics handles the ball against the Phoenix Mercury on August 23, 2020 at the Feld Entertainment Center in Palmetto, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images)

Key Findings on Representation

  • 32% of executive leadership is made up of women as compared to 68% for men. While this is similar to studies of women in the workplace it shows us that the ladder is still broken.

  • Roughly one-third of respondents did not feel their employer provides equal pay based on gender.

  • Women over 40 were seven times more likely to earn $100K+ than their younger counterparts.

Key Findings on Harassment and Discrimination

  • 66% of respondents have experienced harassment or discrimination the most common of which are gender, age, and race/ethnicity.

  • Of those who experienced harassment, 67% did not take action.

Key Finding on Microaggressions

  • Positive work environment experiences are mixed with microaggressions. 34% felt like they had to provide extra evidence of their skills and 32% have heard demeaning remarks about them or someone like them – twice the rate of other studies suggesting higher issues in the sports industry.

PALMETTO, FL – AUGUST 29: Dearica Hamby #5 of the Las Vegas Aces drives to the basket against the New York Liberty on August 29, 2020 at Feld Entertainment Center in Palmetto, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

“The data also showed us that individuals who experience harassment and discrimination are less open to resources provided by employers and a community like WISE,” said Amanda Carmichael, who served for over a decade on the WISE LA board.

“These negative experiences mean women are less likely to see value in career growth opportunities and more likely to perceive disparities in equity,” said Amanda Carmichael. “It is important to address harassment and discrimination in impactful ways as early as possible knowing that individuals become increasingly jaded over time.”

The results of the WISE LA Impact Project 2020 indicate that the obstacles hindering the progression of women in sports when WISE was founded 30 years ago are still very present today.

“Our impact survey gives WISE LA the foundation to reinforce its commitment to empowering ALL women,” said current WISE LA president Ashley Dean. “We started by adding a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion seat to our board and are seeking out strategic partnerships and the creation of educational tools that will support the establishment of inclusive work environments. Through conversations, education, collaboration and action, we will find a more equitable future for all women.”

WISE — Women in Sports and Events — is the leading voice and resource for women in the business of sports.

Featured Image: PALMETTO, FL – AUGUST 29: Amanda Zahui B. #17 of the New York Liberty drives to the basket against the Las Vegas Aces on August 29, 2020, at Feld Entertainment Center in Palmetto, Florida. Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images). The article appears courtesy of Women in Sports and Events Los Angeles (WISE)