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Scholarships boosts push for women to take on top sports roles

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MSD graduate Karen Bardsley

Manchester Metropolitan University’s renowned Masters of Sport Directorship (MSD) course is continuing to champion women’s progression to the top jobs in sport with the launch of a £9,000 women’s scholarship programme for the next intake of the course in September. The award is aimed at nurturing strong female talent in UK sport and has been extended for a fourth year.

The MSD, which equips its graduates for sporting director and other sports leadership roles, has attracted some high-profile names including Manchester City and England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley. Earlier this month Bardsley became the first professional footballer to be appointed to the board of a county FA and is tasked with overseeing the development of women and girls’ participation in the sport in Manchester.

Two Women in Sport Leadership scholarships of £6,000 and £3,000 have been made available to women working in sport who are applying for a place on this year’s intake of the two-year part-time MSD course.
Manchester Metropolitan University’s Mark Batey, who heads the course, said: “Despite the welcome surge in interest in women’s sport, with record numbers of spectators for the women’s world cup last year, the progress of women into the top jobs in sport has been disappointingly slow.

“Women make up just 21 per cent of national sport governing body chief executives, which has actually dropped from 26 per cent in 2018, and only 4 per cent of Premier League clubs are led by women.”


He added: “The MSD has become the go-to qualification for the sporting director role and the Women in Sport Leadership scholarship takes the revolutionary approach that’s needed right now. The course directly helps to equip capable women working in sport with the leadership skills they need for the top jobs.”

The scholarships provide much reduced fees for two female MSD students and were launched in 2017 in response to a survey by the Women in Sport organisation, which found that the number of women in top jobs at UK sporting bodies was falling.

Under UK Sport and Sport England’s Code for Sports Governance, which came into effect in 2017, national sports bodies must ensure their boards are made up of at least 30% women in order to receive public funding. The Women in Sport organisation, which campaigns for gender equality in sport, has called for a further push to promote equal representation of women in senior leadership roles and on boards in the sector.

The Women in Sport Leadership scholarships are open to any woman who meets the MSD criteria and consist of a first prize of £6,000 and second prize of £3,000 reduction in the course fees.

For more information on the Masters of Sport Directorship course at Manchester Metropolitan University, visit the university website.

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