Everyone should have the opportunity to be actively involved in whatever sport or activity they choose, in whatever capacity they choose. Everyone should be encouraged to participate and enjoy play, active recreation and sport without prejudice, in a welcoming and inclusive environment.
It's important that organisations reflect the diversity of their communities and have practices in place to help them achieve their inclusion goals.
Clubs and organisations should be committed to being inclusive and open to all members of their community regardless of age, gender, disability, cultural or religious background or sexual orientation, or other attributes that may lead to any person feeling excluded or isolated.
What is inclusion?
Inclusion is pro-active behaviours, options and actions to make people from all backgrounds, ages and abilities feel welcome, respected and that they belong at your organisation. Being inclusive is about following best practice for what play, active recreation and sport should be so that everyone can get the most out of it.
What is diversity?
Diversity is the mix of peoples’ different attributes and backgrounds (i.e. race, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion). A good way to think about diversity is to think about your local community. Does your organisation reflect the diversity of your local community? Diversity is the mix of people, inclusion is trying to get this mix to all work together in harmony.
Why we should care
Play, active recreation and sport activities should provide a safe and positive environment which focuses on keeping activity fun and being part of a community.
The benefits of inclusion
Positioning your club or organisation as a champion of inclusion will help:
- ensure consistency in ‘walking the talk’ to meet your strategic objectives
- allow you to meet sport regulatory obligations
- increase governance and risk management and decrease potential conflicts
- increase membership
- increase participation opportunities
- increase sponsorship opportunities
- increase public support and volunteer base
- ensure greater publicity and positive public image
- provide a better connected and diverse sports community
- break down barriers and promote social inclusion.
What your club/organisation can do
Have the following policies in place:
Conversations about diversity are important. Discussions are needed to identify what is meant by diversity and what your organisation can to do in this space.
One size does not fit all
Clubs/organisations engage with diversity in different ways and are at different stages of the journey, depending on their social characteristics and context.
Make it relevant
To be practically useful, policies need to move beyond broad policy statements and codes of conduct to provide specific guidance and resources on how organisations can engage with and embed diversity.
There is a wealth of good practice within clubs and organisations, but this is rarely communicated outside of clubs/organisations. Diversity related successes should be shared amongst other organisations, regional and national organisations so that other organisations can recognise what is possible and how to achieve this.
Champions of change
These individuals are key and need looking after to support long-term change. These individuals should be identified and it should be determined what resources and support they need to promote diversity, so it does not rely solely on them into the future.
Coaches are key
Coaches/supervisors are a key interface between an organisation's culture and reinforcing diversity amongst participants. They need support and training on how to promote and support diversity amongst the club’s or organisation's members.
What is our culture?
Organisations need to look critically at the culture they are promoting across all levels and aspects of the organisation. Questions to consider might be: What participants do we prioritise? How welcoming are our facilities? What type of people are on our committee? Who are our coaches/supervisors? These are all important questions for considering what type of culture an organisation has and how welcome to diverse members it will be.
Who’s on our committee?
For diversity to become normalised within organisations it is important that organisation/club governance structures and leadership roles are also diverse. Encouraging diversity amongst those taking on coaching, management and committee level roles and recognising that they might need more support to do this is important for promoting and supporting diversity within the club as a whole.
External links for more information:
Adapted from playbytherules.net.au with permission.