Diversity in Racing Steering Group publishes annual update

The Diversity in Racing Steering Group (DiRSG) has called on British horse racing to ‘capitalise on current momentum’ and work towards more diversity and inclusivity within the sport.

In light of the worldwide discussion regarding race and racism this year, the Steering Group’s annual update touches onethnic diversity, highlights important milestones and oversees the launch of a range of industry initiatives on diversity and inclusion.

The DiRSG has also reviewed its progress against its 2020 objectives and outlined its priority actions for the new year. 

Three main objectives have been identified by the group for  2021: raising awareness of the importance of diversity and inclusion across the whole sport, better understanding British racing’s landscape, and creating an inclusive sport for all.

British racing’s Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Rosie Grissell, said: “Despite the challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 has seen positive stories created and impactful actions being undertaken across British racing.

“Individual milestones achieved on track, in particular Hollie Doyle’s incredible achievements, have continued to take racing to wider audiences. 

“More so, the launch of a raft industry initiatives and the recent public focus on diversity issues have created real momentum behind the drive to make racing for everyone.

“We know that racing will be a better, stronger and more sustainable sport if we are able to attract a more diverse audience and a workforce that represents wider society. We must utilise the current momentum across the sport to ensure we can do better and can be better.”

Various changes have been made to the DiRSG’s membership this year, with a number of members stepping down, including Chief Executive Nick Rust, who will depart his role at the end of the year.

Notable new members of the DiRSG include Scottish Racing Academy Manager Eleanor Boden, Hong Kong Jockey Club Veterinarian Dr Cedric Chan, PhD Candidate and Self-Employed Researcher David Letts, and Head of Innovation at Brand Dynamics Gareth Wesley.

Rob Hazel, Chief Executive of the Racing Foundation, commented: “In 2016 the Racing Foundation supported a Women in Racing project to research women’s representation and diversity in the horseracing industry. 

“The results of the research and its dissemination led to the creation of the Diversity in Racing Steering Group. This led in 2019 to the Foundation providing £230,000 to fund the Group’s work for three years.

“It is therefore exciting to read how that funding is being put to use and to see details of the various initiatives that are taking place.

“Of course, there is still much to do, but we welcome the new commitment from leading organisations across the sport to address diversity and inclusion together and we look forward to further supporting the work of the Group in the future as they strive to make racing a sport for everyone.”

The DiSRG was formed in August 2017 as a forum for the discussion of ideas and activities regarding diversity and inclusion in horse racing.

The group operates as an independent voluntary body and provides strategic direction and advice to support the sport in delivering its diversity objectives.

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