Sailors of BAME backgrounds gathered for the first RYA Ethnicity in Boating Focus Group in October.
The focus group had already been set up when anti-racism protests took place across the world earlier this year, and calls were made for there to be more BAME sailing officials.
At the time of the protests, leading sport administrator Chris Grant wrote to UK Sport and Sport England, urging them to establish a forum where people could talk frankly about historical and present-day issues without criticism or prejudice.
The RYA invited feedback and input from the BAME community about experiences of boating and views on where improvements could be made.
The first focus group session was chaired by Kevin Hylton, who is Emeritus Professor of Equality and Diversity in Sport, Leisure and Education at Leeds Beckett University. His research has focused on the nature and extent of race in sport and other areas.
“The conversations in these focus groups will help to shape the RYA’s Diversity Strategy,” an RYA spokesman said. “The group discussed their personal experiences of barriers to the sport, their own coaching experiences and feelings surrounding identity.”
The RYA was the first UK governing body of a sport to achieve the advanced level of the Equality Standard for Sport.
Feedback from the focus group meetings will help form the RYA’s ongoing Diversity Strategy.
Earlier this year RYA CEO Sarah Treseder said: “We are acutely aware that people from BAME backgrounds are still under-represented in our sport, despite the strength of our commitment to inclusivity. Policies need to be brought to life by the actions of every one across our network – and we need to take even more proactive steps to ensure that the opportunities boating offers are available to everyone on a fair and equal basis.”
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