Equality, Diversity & Inclusion The Necessary Theme For Sport To Take From 2021
November 26, 2021
Community Manager Beth Hushon shares what she believes sport should be taking away from 2021.
NFT’s may have come out on top for word of the year for 2021, yet for me EDI has been one that has taken more of a focus for the sports business industry.
One thing the pandemic highlighted is the need for reflection, education and culture, as we can challenge the stigma attached to many things in order to create accessibility for all.
This year especially, more sports businesses are looking to bring in EDI Directors and Managers to tackle their culture internally and externally. The passion for change will have to come from the trigger within the sport, which needs to be shown with action. There is pressure for sports to be reflective of the community they serve irrespective of their background, both through participation and the day to day management of their organisations. Knowing the issue is one thing, taking the right steps to learn, improve and evolve is powerful, now isn’t the time to shy or hide away from the topic of EDI.
The recent stories coming out at Yorkshire Cricket in particular is a reminder that there is a long way to go to make sport inclusive to all. Accepting how EDI was received in the past is imperative to move forward to change positive change. It shouldn’t be just something sports businesses need to do, but want to do to be in tune with society and representation.
EDI in the headlines this week
This weekend marks the ninth annual “Stonewall” campaign, which has progressed from its early years focusing on men’s professional football to a wider range of sports. Allyship from Lewis Hamilton in recent weeks has made headlines, showing the power we can all play to show a strong unity in the LGBTQ+ community.
“We all know how transformational sport, fitness and physical activity can be for our health, happiness & wellbeing. That’s why it’s crucial that these benefits can be felt by everyone – inc all LGBTQ+ people.” – Liz Ward, Stonewall’s director of programme.
UK sport this week published pregnancy guidelines for Female athletes. Following an in-depth 18-month consultation period, it is to enable athletes to feel supported by their sport. Pregnancy and being an athlete should not be mutually exclusive, and females often have struggled to balance their careers with starting a family, but maternity policies in sport have improved significantly in recent years. And it isn’t one-size-fits all!
Naomi Folkard, five-time Olympic archer, said: “Societies’ belief [is that the] system is changing for all types of equality issues the world over, one which is particularly close to my heart is that female athletes should no longer have to make a choice between their athletic career and having children, so I have been very lucky to have the opportunity to contribute to this UK Sport project.”
These are just a few examples of strides being taken in awareness and action to reflect our culture and society, to create inclusivity for all. Action is required for it to be sustainable and grow. Sport can have the power to change and align with representation.