Purpose. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the findings and outcomes from research undertaken in 2016 on diversity in British horseracing. The last decade has seen increasing focus on improving gender balance in senior roles in most sectors. Motivation for change within horseracing came from women at a senior level, who identified that the industry was behind in this respect. This work offers a case study to consider, with a business case context, whether an initiative, driven from the top, can open up a conversation about inequality and precipitate change that benefits women across a whole sector.
Design/methodology/approach. This research took an action research approach, using a survey alongside key stakeholder interviews.
Findings. The findings showed a diverse industry with complex career paths. Growing numbers of women have entered the sector, though this was often not reflected in women’s seniority or in perceptions about their capabilities. Issues identified included the importance of mentoring, networking and career advice for women’s progression, which are needed to navigate myriad career paths and male-dominated structures. The paper argues that investigating equality issues from a perspective of those in leadership roles can lead to pragmatic initiatives supporting women at all levels.
Originality. The originality of this paper is that it focuses on work which, for the first time, explored women’s career participation in the horseracing industry. It challenges existing critiques of using a business case to promote gender equality.
Manfredi, SimonettaClayton-Hathway, Kate
Oxford Brookes Business School
Year of publication: 2021Date of RADAR deposit: 2021-02-16