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Diversity report reveals too few females across racing's senior roles.

By Bill Barber WOMEN are under-represented across senior roles in British racing, according to the first report on gender diversity within the sport which was unveiled at York racecourse yesterday.

The most immediate recommendation to emerge from the report, published by the Centre for Diversity Policy Research and Practice at Oxford Brookes University and Women in Racing (WiR), is the establishment of an independent steering body to support British horseracing in developing a deeper understanding of the issue.

A longer-term target was the setting up of industry-wide voluntary diversity targets and developing an effective monitoring mechanism.

In response the BHA said it would consult across the sport to consider the report's recommendations and to consider what other action might be needed.

The report said that while progress was being made on gender diversity in racing, a number of issues had been identified including lack of career development opportunities, 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.

Founder and honorary president of WiR Sally Rowley-Williams said: "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."

She added: "British horseracing has within it some excellent people but we need to all work together to ensure existing and future talent is attracted to and able to thrive within our sport."

The BHA welcomed the report and said racing faced similar challenges to other sports in ensuring that people from all backgrounds were represented at all levels.

Chief executive Nick Rust said: "This survey serves as a stark reminder that while some progress has been made, there is much more that British racing needs to do to ensure that people receive the necessary encouragement, support and opportunities regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, disability or social background.

"Today, we're re-stating our commitment to improve diversity in our sport. As the survey report highlights, to be successful, this requires a crossindustry effort, so we will now consult with racecourses and horsemen on additional actions we need to take, including the recommendations contained in this report.

"I'd like to thank Women in Racing and the many partners who made this research, possible, including the Racing Foundation for funding the study on behalf of our sport and for helping us keep diversity firmly on racing's agenda."

?Steve Dennis, page 16

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:May 18, 2017
Words:463
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