Supporting women in the horse racing industry

Mon, 18 May, 2020

Earlier this year, Kindred announced a new partnership with Women in Racing (WiR). The purpose of the partnership is to raise awareness of the challenges working mothers face when returning to work and highlight the impact of having children can have on work/life balance.

Kindred is supporting the WiR programme Racing Home, which they are delivering in collaboration with Simply Racing and Oxford Brookes University. The programme includes workshops and webinars to gather experience and insights, as well as a piece of academic research to capture data and make recommendations to the industry. Kindred is committed to building a diverse workforce and aims to achieve a 50/50 gender split in our senior management team by 2023. We are excited to see how the Racing Home programme can support with recommendations on how to keep female colleagues in the organisation. 

We spoke to Tallulah Lewis, Women in Racing Chair, to learn more about the organisation and the Racing Home programme.

How did the idea of Women in Racing come about?

Women in Racing was established in September 2009. Their vision is to reach women across the industry to raise their profile. With that visibility,  they aim to strengthen connections and collaborate on approaches to help promote healthy sport and to enhance its reputation as an attractive sector for women to build a career in.

We look to support women across all sectors of the industry and represent their needs and any issues that they encounter. With this as our objective, we look to work closely with other industry bodies such as the British Horseracing Authority, Racecourse Association, Racehorse Owners Association and many more. We reach out to women in their sectors and highlight the support available to them and raise any issues our members are experiencing that they can help resolve or investigate.

Can you tell us a little bit about the setup?

Our membership is made up of women from across all sectors of the industry, ranging from racecourses to studs and through to administration and media, giving us a real diverse membership. The membership has nominated a committee of 9 women from this pool and the committee collectively run the organisations, our member benefits and the events that we hold throughout the year. We are very proud of the benefits we offer our members, as all members have the opportunity to have a mentor for free and this scheme is one of a kind in the industry. We also run an award programme, where members can apply for up to £2,000 of funding for their career development. We believe that these benefits really set us apart from other industry organisations and enable us to support women in the industry.

Currently, we have over 300 members and our objective for this year is to really make an effort to increase that number. We are working closely with the National Association of Racing Staff to showcase the organisation to their members across the racing and breeding industries. We want to encourage all women who work in the sports industry to be part of the organisation so that we can represent them.

What is the purpose of the Racing Home project and who is involved?

“Racing Home” was established to examine what it feels like to be a working mother in the horseracing industry, understand the decision making that takes place when choosing to become a mother and to explore the impact of returning to work after maternity leave.

Through the Racing Home project, Women in Racing hopes to raise awareness of the issues working mothers in the racing industry face, by sharing experiences and encouraging debate from an invited audience. The impact of having children and the work/life balance is a topic which women are often reluctant to discuss openly, as they fear it could affect their career prospects and alter their boss’, colleagues' or management’s perception of them. 

Alongside this, we are running a piece of academic research undertaken by Oxford Brookes University in order to capture the data of the project and look to make some recommendations to the industry from this piece of work. 

Simply Racing have been delivering the project for us. They facilitate workshops and webinars, undertaken by Oxford Brookes University. We are also being sponsored by The Racing Foundation and Kindred Group, who are such fantastic partners for us to have and be supported by. 

What do you hope to achieve with the project?

We really set out to highlight what it is like to be a mother or think about becoming a mother in the horseracing industry and how that impacts women in sport. It is a global issue and one that is certainly experienced by those in our industry. We wanted to bring some of the issues experienced to the attention of the industry and then look to recommend what the industry can do to support women. We believe that there is a real opportunity for the sport to be a leader in addressing issues faced by mothers and to show other sports and industries that there are solutions that can be implemented.

And lastly, why did you partner with Kindred on this project?

We really feel that Kindred shared our ethos and passion to look at how industries can become more sustainable and how we can support those within them. Working with an industry leader such as Kindred has been a fantastic way to support the project and expose the work we are doing and the combined ambitions that we have to the rest of the sport and industry.