British Racing Diversity in Racing Steering Group (DiRSG) announced that information on cross-industry diversity will be gathered and analysed during 2020 as the group moves towards raising awareness of the value of diversity and inclusion across races.
The group outlined its overall strategy and goals for the next 12-18 months, as stated in its 2019 annual update.
Sulekha Varma, member of the DiRSG and recently appointed Regional Head of Racing, North West Jockey Club, said: “Racing has a great opportunity to broaden its appeal, to the benefit of everyone in the sport. Since its formation, the Steering Group has worked hard to understand the current landscape within racing, looking at the important work already going on in the sport whilst also looking out for future opportunities.
“This update crystallises some of the work that has taken place so far within our key areas of focus, and now that we have some all-important funding in place we are looking forward to helping racing move further and faster towards becoming an even more welcoming and inclusive sport.”
Racing diversity was demonstrated during 2019 with the likes of Khadijah Mellah, Bryony Frost, Rachael Blackmore and Hollie Doyle, all of whom this year attracted the attention of mainstream media.
DiRSG dealt with four key areas in its study that will be highlighted in 2020. This includes raising awareness of the importance of diversity & inclusion through racing through industry-wide activities and a digital awareness and interaction campaign; gathering and reviewing cross-industry diversity information, providing a clear evidence base for decision making where appropriate.
The group will also look at ways to create a culture of inclusiveness in racing through the creation and publication of best practise toolkits and case studies for the industry as well as collaboration with wider initiatives such as Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces; increase the participation of female jockeys through further research into each stage of the career of a female jockey and improve racecourse facilities
Rose Grissell, Head of Diversity and Inclusion for British racing, said: “The Diversity in Racing Steering Group has made good progress since its formation in 2018 and the publishing of the action plan, and since I joined the BHA it has been useful to understand more about how the different parts of the industry feel about making racing a more inclusive sport.
“Our focus now is on improving our evidence base, getting out to the industry and raising awareness of the benefits of having an inclusive sport. We aim to empower everyone in the industry to play their role in creating a sport which offers a big-hearted welcome for everyone.
“Without the funding recently received from the Racing Foundation the next stage of work would not have been possible, so our thanks must go to them. With this funding and a closer link to the industry stakeholders, through the support of the Members’ Committee, we’re excited for the year ahead and look forward to accelerating progress.”