Women in Racing survey a first step to embracing diversity

The diversity of modern society and its acceptance has many threads, the most obvious being gender equality.

That’s why it’s important for participants in racing to respond to the survey currently being staged with a focus on women in racing. It’s the aim of the New Zealand Racing Board, together with the three codes, to better understand how women can be more actively and positively involved in the industry.

Women are already an integral part of racing in this country, particularly in the role they play as employees and participants at the coalface. Female stablehands and grooms have long played an important part, well before the landmark movement of the 1970s when female jockeys and their supporters broke down the barriers to competing as equals with males.

Like a lurking tidal wave, female jockeys quickly became an important part of the jockey landscape, and in another milestone achievement, “second generation” female jockey Samantha Collett claimed her first Group One win on Glory Days in the Auckland Cup.

Indeed without the input of females from teenage right through to seniors, the New Zealand racing and breeding industry would be far poorer, even non-functional.

But the label “women in racing” goes well beyond that essential workforce. Transforming racing’s engagement with women is the fundamental goal of the ‘Women in Racing’ survey.  It will examine if the sport of racing is engaging and involving women effectively and whether improvements can be made to make a real difference.

From the wider diversity perspective the survey is only a start, an important one with the potential to embody so much else that makes a modern and tolerant society.

Independent research company Strategic Reality has been engaged to develop a strategy for the racing industry to ensure diversity issues and opportunities are being managed.

As a first step in this engagement industry participants – male and female –are invited to go to www.nzrb.co.nz/womeninracing. There they can fill out the anonymous survey that best suits their connection to racing by Friday 22 March.