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RYA charts an equal, diverse, and inclusive course for the future of boating

by Emma Cotton 19 Mar 08:15 GMT
Family on boat © RYA

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) is proud to announce the launch of the RYA Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Strategy 2021-2030, Charting an Equal, Diverse and Inclusive Course for the Future of Boating cementing the sport's commitment to developing a culture that celebrates diversity and is free from discrimination and prejudice.

The RYA was the first UK National Governing Body to achieve the Advanced Level of the Sports Councils' Equality Standard for Sport in 2016 and the Strategy will build on the RYA's strong foundation of promoting equality, diversity, and inclusion in all forms of boating.

The Strategy, which places an initial focus on ethnicity in boating, has been developed with the guidance of a steering group and input from an Ethnicity in Boating Forum comprised of individuals from diverse backgrounds who have made their way in the sport.

The launch comes ahead of the 'United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination' on 21 March (Sunday), the theme for which is encouraging communities around the world to adopt a global culture of tolerance, equality, and anti-discrimination - concurrent principles which run throughout the RYA's Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Strategy.

As a membership organisation, the RYA represents over 104,000 members but the reach of the Strategy hopes to be much greater opening opportunities for all to get on the water. Through the Strategy's four underpinning objectives: to change perceptions, behaviours, experiences, and reality, the RYA aims to bring greater equality and inclusivity across the whole recreational boating community. The Strategy details a comprehensive 10 step action plan, each of which aim to drive progress and deliver change through the embedding of best practice, training, positive engagement, and monitoring.

RYA Chief Executive, Sarah Treseder, said: "We joined other voices from the world of sport last summer to speak out against racism, and in doing so we recognised that more needed to be done to ensure that boating was as inclusive and diverse as we would like it to be.

"We reaffirmed our commitment to equality of opportunity then, and we have gone on to develop the Strategy that we are launching today that will enable us to deliver on that commitment: recreational boating and competitive sailing that is accessible and inclusive to all.

"It is a hugely ambitious and exciting plan that we are looking forward to actioning to demonstrate that a person's sex, age, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or religion should never be a barrier to participation in boating."

In developing the Strategy, the RYA worked with Emeritus Professor of Equality and Diversity in Sport and Education, Kevin Hylton, of Leeds Beckett University, who commented: "It is exciting to see a national governing body of sport being so proactive in regard to equality, diversity and inclusivity (ED&I).

"The RYA has established a high bar in their ED&I strategy by aiming to change perceptions, behaviours, experiences, and realities. They are challenging themselves to make their sport more inclusive and are going the right way about it by moving with insight purposely forward."

Politicians have welcomed the launch of the Strategy. The Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP, Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, commented: "It is extremely important to make boating accessible to all and I commend the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy produced by the Royal Yachting Association, a professional organisation who are leading the way in ensuring this sport is open to all."

The RYA Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Strategy 2021-2030 is now available to read in full on the RYA's website.

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