With new research announced, Women in Racing calls for action on gender diversity in British horseracing
The first research ever undertaken into diversity in British horseracing has shown there is a need to develop a proper diversity agenda within the sport. The research was unveiled at Women in Racing's sixth AGM at York Racecourse (May 17.)
The research - supported by funding from the Racing Foundation - was carried out by the Centre for Diversity Policy Research & Practice at Oxford Brookes University and Women in Racing.
The report - titled Women’s representation and diversity in the horseracing industry - found that while progress is being made at all levels within horseracing on gender diversity, there are serious issues for women working and involved within the sport.
These issues include:
* Lack of career development opportunities (at all levels including jockeys), progression and support;
* There are examples of discriminative, prejudice and bullying behaviour;
* Barriers and lack of representation at senior and board level; and
* Negative experiences of work-life balance and pastoral care.
The research’s most immediate recommendation is to establish an independent diversity steering body to support British horseracing in developing a deeper understanding of its diversity. In the longer term a steering group would set industry-wide, voluntary diversity targets and effective monitoring.
The research also sets out further actions to help improve gender diversity in leadership roles and addressing some of the career barriers women face within the sport at all levels - including mentoring and the positive impact of visible role models.
Women in Racing had recognised the need for this research and most other sports, particularly Olympic disciplines, have a diversity agenda and monitoring mechanisms in place, as well as independent reporting, which have all be developed following similar research. Women in Racing have confirmed its commitment and desire to work with British horseracing to act on the findings and recommendations.
The research was carried out by Professor Simonetta Manfredi, Professor of Equality & Diversity Management with researcher and lecturer Kate Clayton-Hathway. It was the brainchild of the founder and honorary president of Women in Racing, Sally Rowley-Williams, who commented:
“This is a ground-breaking piece of research for British horseracing. It sets out clear recommendations which the sport needs to act on. As the sport’s governing body, the BHA is best placed to lead on progressing the diversity agenda, but it is for all in the sport to play their part."
"Women in Racing will do all it can to facilitate change and make sure this research is just the starting point for taking forward the diversity agenda within British horseracing."
The full report can be read here.
FOOTNOTE: The Racing Foundation was established in January 2012 to oversee the distribution of funds to charitable causes within racing following the sale of the Tote.