Speaking Out On The Barriers Females Face In Sports Administration

04 August 2006

There is little doubt that barriers exist for women to reach high positions in sports administration.

Whether it be family commitments, lack of desire and/or discrimination, among other possibilities, females are a minority in occupying executive level positions in sports administration.

In our latest Speaking Out segment, four former basketball players and current administrators who make up this minority share their views on how women, and particularly ex-players, can overcome these obstacles.

Betty Cebrian (Spain)

Elisabeth Cebrian

Elisabeth Cebrian (ESP)

Playing career: 1988-2004

Currently: Spanish Basketball Federation Technical Member, President of the Women’s Basketball Players Association

This is something we are thinking about in Spain. It is an important problem as there not many female executives in sport. Often after players’ careers, they focus on their families and maybe try to get educated in other fields unrelated to basketball. As a result, they become disconnected from the game. That’s why I started the Women’s Basketball Players Association. I am President of this organisation and what I try to do is match players with job opportunities in sport. I find out which players are interested in working in sport and then try to match them with the right contacts. The Spanish Basketball Federation President (Jose Luis Saez) says this area is one of his top priorities.


Esther Wender

Esther Wender

Esther Wender (NED)

Playing career: 1985-1995

Currently: Year of Women's Basketball Project Manager, Dutch Basketball Federation Public Relations

I hope that more female players are willing to remain in their sport after their active careeer. I think federations should aim specifically at using the expertise and charisma of former players. In other words, they must find creative ways to keep players attached to the sport. This will also help the image of a federation tremendously.


Yannick Souvre

Yannick Souvre (FIBA Europe 2006 General Assembly)

Yannick Souvre (FRA)

Playing Career (1984-2003)

Currently FIBA Europe Properties Managing Director

I think that first of all more females should want to have such positions. The more females that are in such positions, that more the doors will open for others and the idea of female executives won’t seem so alien. There is this thought that if you are a female and the executive of a company, you can’t take care of your family and kids. You don’t want to feel like a bad mother, so that’s why I think many women don’t want these positions. From a political point of view, I think governments can help address this problem by providing money to men to stay home with children and also making nurseries and day car available to companies. But again I think more women need to want this.


Lea Hakala

Lea Hakala

Lea Hakala (FIN)

Playing Career (1975-2001)

Currently member of the FIBA Europe Women's Commission  

Women in general should be more ambitious to take part in the decision making of the sport's world. There are still a lot of prejudiced opinions of women´s roles in sports, but women should be ready to face those challenges.




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