Female representation is top of the issues to address for the newly established Diversity in Racing Steering Group, according to the BHA’s head of media, Robin Mounsey.
The group, which is the first of its kind, was developed in response to the findings of the women’s representation and diversity in horse racing survey, with the aim of supporting the industry in its efforts to enhance its diversity and inclusivity.
Membership of the body will include representation from across the sport, with BHA Chief Executive Nick Rust and ITV Racing presenter Rishi Persad among its 16 members.
Mounsey said: “Our view is very much that we need to do more to promote diversity within the sport of British horse racing.
“The reality is, the diversity of our sport doesn’t represent the diversity of the population, or the diversity of interest in horse racing.
“Clearly somewhere along the line, there’s a disparity between the number of female jockeys and the opportunities they are being given.
“I know the Diversity in Racing Steering Group is keen to go out and speak to our participant groups, our stakeholders, and understand more fully their views on diversity and potential prejudice in the sport.
“That will allow us to better put in place ideas to address participation levels, and the diversity group has it as a top priority to look at female representation in the sport.”
Mounsey also spoke of the challenges the BHA face in trying to pinpoint any prejudice, before nominating racing’s heritage as a potential root cause: “This is a very traditional industry, and I’d say traditional as an intended euphemism.
“Sometimes our tradition is one of our great selling points, but it’s also one of our great barriers.
“We have many people in the industry that are set in their ways and difficult to communicate change to and there’s a possibility that those kind of attitudes, that hark back to a previous time, have an influence on the opportunities that female jockeys are given.
“We would have anecdotal evidence that supports that, but at this moment, it’s not enough to assume that is the case, and this is why the consultation with our participants is so important in driving forward our solutions to this.”