We want people of all backgrounds and cultures to feel included, welcome, valued and empowered: in short, to belong. We want individual differences to be respected and the advantages they provide recognised. We want to see demonstrable individual and collective ownership and delivery of diversity and inclusion commitments and action plans. And we aim to celebrate the accessibility of our sport to all individuals, at all levels, and from all walks of life.
There is a huge amount of positive work already being undertaken to drive inclusion and diversity within the sport: existing plans, initiatives and programmes which are focussed on inclusion and diversity include, for example, our Grow Coaching Programme; our Charitable Foundation, Love Rowing; the Sport England and SportsAid-supported Backing the Best programme; British Rowing’s Inclusive Club Guide; and the Sport England-supported mass market Go Row Indoor programme.
The framework for change presented within our plans aims to align and build upon existing activity in a way that supports systemic and cultural change. A holistic approach will achieve long-term change in a way that stand-alone initiatives will struggle to do.
We need to learn from lived experiences of members from diverse communities and foster and build a culture (within British Rowing HQ and across the wider sport) that values and champions diversity and inclusion, recognising the barriers that exist, being open and transparent about our current diversity and removing dated stereotypes and excuses. We have a fantastic sport with unique benefits that more people would access if barriers were removed.
Culture comprises an interlocking set of goals, roles, processes, values, communications practices, attitudes and assumptions that are mutually reinforcing. This is why achieving cultural change that sticks is difficult. We therefore need to use all of the tools available to us to inspire and support change.
Committed to inclusion - our in-depth strategy document for this area - lays this out in depth, with a list of actions that we will take to effect this change in culture.
Ultimately, we want to spread the love of the sport to everyone: as we say, we are everyone's sport, and the power of rowing is something we want everyone to experience and benefit from. We cannot achieve that unless we are committed to building a culture that values and champions diversity and inclusion by taking positive action to improve both at all levels.