Sexist comments by Tokyo Olympics chief Yoshiro Mori are further evidence that the whole sporting system needs a shake-up, says Women's Sport Trust chief executive Tammy Parlour.
Former Japanese Prime Minister Mori, 83, has apologised for saying women talk too much in meetings, but says he will not resign, despite a storm of criticism on social media.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) says it considers the issue closed.
"The athletes that I have spoken to have been in utter disbelief as far as the comments go, but this sort of attitude and these sort of comments have been happening behind the scenes for years, for decades," Parlour has told Reuters.
A WhatsApp group of elite athletes is buzzing at the "jaw-dropping" story, but the situation is not all negative.
"The fact that it's actually getting called out now is really positive in my view and it provides an opportunity to talk about this," Parlour says.
"At the same time, I think it's important to not just focus on the comments, because I see the comments as a symptom, and the cause is not having enough diversity and inclusion plumbed across the whole system."
Mori's words have invited comparison with other elderly male sports leaders, who have triggered controversy for sexist remarks.
Sepp Blatter, the former head of world soccer body FIFA, made headlines in 2004, when he suggested women should play in tighter shorts than men.
In 2005, Ex-Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, whose sport has not had a female driver in a race since 1976, joked that women should dress in white like "other domestic appliances".
Parlour says the system needs shaking up, but suggests progress is being made, citing the response to online abuse aimed at former England international and television pundit Karen Carney.
Carney deleted her Twitter account, after her remarks about Leeds United were ridiculed by the Premier League club's official account.
"If you look at the whole Karen Carney incident, a lot of male allies were standing up and saying, 'look, this isn't right'," Parlour says.
"I think it's a massive turning point, people are starting to speak up and say 'this isn't actually what should be happening and we need to re-look at the system'.
Parlour says the change is needed to stay relevant, progressive, creative, and attract new audiences and revenue streams, and there is a strong appetite for that in countries, such as Britain.
"We've got to look beyond gender as well, we've got to diversify," she says. "The industry is too white as well."