Step Up Equality

Women continue to be largely excluded from sports decision-making and leadership, including at grassroots level. Structural barriers caused by discriminatory norms, values and institutional practices in the world of sport continue to limit women's options and opportunities. This also applies to the cultural context of sport and the legacy of many years of lack of efforts to promote women in leadership positions.

The following overviews are the result of the Step Up Equality project. The aim of the project was to combat the persistent gender inequalities in sport and to address the under-representation of women among trainers, managers and decision-makers in sport.

The study aims to address the lack or poor availability of data and independent studies on inequalities and discrimination in sport, particularly on the role of women* in training or decision-making. We aim to identify the most relevant difficulties and challenges for women* in sport in Europe that make it difficult or impossible for them to access positions as trainers* or managers*.

In the following you will find the analysis of barriers to leadership positions for women in sport in Europe and Germany in particular, as well as a Best Practice Handbook.


Read and download online:


Our survey is part of work phase I-II of the project and wants to tackle the lack or poor availability of data and independent analysis of inequalities and discriminations in sports, especially on women's role in leadership or decision-making activities. Together with our partner organisations we want to identify the most relevant difficulties and barriers for women in accessing positions of trainers and managers in grassroots sport in Europe.

DISCOVER FOOTBALL is conducting a survey and an analysis of the situation in sports in Germany. Participating in this survey provides you with the opportunity to help to shape and influence the development of the leadership roles of women in sport in Europe. 

The survey is now closed and we are analysing the results. We would like to thank all participants for sharing their valuable insights with us. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at stepupequality[at]discoverfootball.de.

All the best,

your Step Up Equality project team!

About the project: STEP UP EQUALITY

Women and girls in Europe still do not participate in sport to the same degree as men, neither do they participate in the full range of sport and physical activity, with many sports being considered more typically “masculine” and therefore less appropriate. Most importantly their roles to influence and make decisions in sports are also limited.

Based on these challenges and needs, the main objective of the project STEP UP EQUALITY is to promote gender equality in sports leadership and challenge gender-based discrimination in sports across Europe. This is achieved through the cooperation and the exchange of best practices and expertise between different sports and paths of training and inspirations between young athletes and successful examples of women in leadership in sports. 


  1. Through targeted training strengthen the specific skills of women currently active within grassroots sport organizations to navigate and challenge existing norms and structures and increase their influence and presence as coaches and managers and their visibility in sport media

  2. Increase awareness and mainstreaming of gender equality in sport specific to leadership, spreading best practice examples of how to support women in leadership in sports and reducing gender based stereotypes and other barriers that exclude women from leadership roles.

  3. Promote public sport initiatives and events to 1) increase opportunities for engagement in sport activities, participation and leadership of women from disadvantaged groups, 2) promoting an exchange of skills, experiences and inspiration between women athletes involved in coaching and decision making in sport

  4. Prepare, test and promote a European system to report gender discrimination in grassroots sport that affects coaches, athletes, supporters

  5. Increase networking and cooperation between women in coaching and leadership positions from mainstream sports and emerging sports in Europe.

The project STEP UP EQUALITY is co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union and DISCOVER FOOTBALL is a full partner. 

Click here for the SUE website

Visit the #StepUpEquality website for all recent news and publications around the project.