British horse racing’s leading authorities have made a commitment to improving diversity and inclusion within the sport in order to ensure it continues to ‘grow and thrive in the future’.
The new commitment will build on existing initiatives employed by the sector to promote diversity, including community engagement, education activity and charitable work.
Stating that British horse racing is ‘proud to be one of few sports where all genders compete on equal terms’, the BHA identified the Industry Commitment as a means of formalising horse racing’s approach to diversity and inclusion.
Signatures to the new Industry Commitment include the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), Racecourse Association (RCA), Racehorse Owners Association (ROA), Thoroughbred Breeders Association (TBA), National Trainers Federation (NTF), Professional Jockeys Association (PJA), National Association of Racing Staff (NARS) and Great British Racing (GBR).
“This is an important step forward for the sport,” Annamarie Phelps, Chair of the BHA. “We have so much to celebrate in British racing, including men and women being able to compete on a level playing field.
“Equally, it is the responsibility of all of us in the sport to ensure we can showcase British racing as a modern sport which is truly diverse, inclusive and open to all. Being proactive about improving diversity is essential to the long-term viability of the sport, but first and foremost it is absolutely the right thing to do.”
The commitment will revolve around five objectives – leadership and accountability, good governance, education and awareness raising, celebrating racing’s diversity and engaging new audiences.
Measures implemented to achieve this include the introduction of a requirement for a minimum of 30% of each gender on the boards of participating organisations by the end of 2022, as well as the appointment of a specific board member to champion diversity and inclusion and coordinate specific activities relating to this.
Learning and development programmes covering diversity and inclusion and highlighting the benefit for the sport will also be utilised by board members, senior staff and volunteers, whilst platforms such as the Racing2Learn solution will be leveraged to deepen the members’ understanding of relevant issues.
In addition, each organisation will share best practice, celebrate industry diversity- such as building on the work of the Racing with Pride LGBT+ network and Women in Racing .
These activities will be undertaken by a range of horse racing organisations including those that have not signed up to the commitment. A strong focus on audience engagement will also feature in the campaigning in order to promote ‘a clear and consistent message that British racing is for everyone’.
“Racing is for everyone. Racecourses want to welcome back as many racegoers as possible when it is safe to do so and our collective commitment to improving Diversity and Inclusion is a vital part of our future,” remarked Maggie Carver, Chair of the Racecourse Association (RCA).
“The RCA’s strategy to help racecourses in this regard is evolving and we are already forming plans on how to increase our understanding of existing and potential new racegoers so we can better serve a wider section of society and increase racing’s fan base.”
Charlie Parker, Chairman of the Horsemen’s Group, added: “Our members are the heart of British racing in their roles of breeding, owning, training, riding and caring for our racehorses. We want them and future generations to feel racing is a sport for them and welcome being part of today’s Industry Commitment.”