‘Too much focus’ on equality in sport, say Scottish governing bodies

by Matthew Campelli | 27 Jan 2016

A number of sports governing bodies in Scotland feel there is “too much focus” on equality, with senior staff and board members struggling to understand the importance of equal opportunities, according to a report.

sportscotland’s Equality and Sport Research report, funded by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), found that while some Scottish Governing Bodies of Sport (SGBs) were “positive” about a focus on equality, others felt the emphasis was too great.

It highlighted a “lack of ownership” of the equalities agenda within some SGBs, with some feeling it was “driven by other organisations”.

Indeed, the research revealed that in 2015/16 11 SGBs had no women on their boards, although the overall picture had slightly improved with the number of female board members increasing from 24 per cent in 2014/15 to 29 per cent in 205/16.

“Some [SGB] staff reported challenges getting senior staff and board members to understand the importance of equality,” said the report.

However, SGBs and local authorities were the most positive group of the 600 sports sector respondents to the study, with 67 per cent believing that equality in sport had “a lot or complete priority”.

SGBs had a “particularly important” role in fostering cultures and attitudes towards equal sporting opportunities , said the report, adding: “SGBs can play a powerful leadership role, and are crucial in terms of embedding positive attitudes towards equality.”

As well as the survey of 600, the report comprised 10 discussion groups with employees in the sports sector and nine further discussion groups with people with protected characteristics (e.g. female, minority ethnic and LGBT).

Challenges from a facilities point of view were additionally referenced in the report, with women and disabled people citing the lack of suitable facilities as a barrier to participation, while few changing and leisure facilities meet the needs of transgender people.

Sports minister Jamie Hepburn said work was “already under way” to close the equality gap, and pointed to a number of funding projects around Scotland which focus on “hard-to-reach groups”, with £800,000 (US$1.1m, €1.1m) invested in these types of schemes already.

“To provide more and better places to be active, we are working with sportscotland and remain on track to deliver 150 Community Sports Hubs across all local authority areas by next year,” he added.

sportscotland chief executive Stewart Harris added: “We will use this research to refocus and refine our work, provide leadership for the sector, and keep raising awareness of the importance of equality and inclusion.

“We will continue working in partnership with sports, local authorities, and their leisure agencies, clubs, and other sports organisations to achieve better accessibility and inclusion for everyone across Scottish sport.”

The read the full report click here.

Scotland  sportscotland  equality  Equality and Human Rights Commission  Jamie Hepburn 
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FEATURE: Women in sport – Equal Opportunities

A number of sports governing bodies in Scotland feel there is “too much focus” on equality, with senior staff and board members struggling to understand the importance of equal opportunities, according to a report. sportscotland’s Equality and Sport Research report, funded by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), found that while some Scottish Governing Bodies of Sport (SGBs) were “positive” about a focus on equality, others felt the emphasis
Scottish sports minister Jamie Hepburn said the government was putting funds into closing the equality gap in sport / Scottish Parliament
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