Participation and equal opportunities is an issue in all sports and many walks of life. This does not make it right and does not mean that we should not attempt to do something to resolve it. We hear from those that are willing to put their head above the parapet and shout the loudest. Their views are as equally important as those that shy away and do not say anything. We need to engage with all groups (e.g., men, women, BAME) in a constructive and supportive manner to improve opportunities for all within our sport. The benefits of doing this is that by engaging and sharing the process we create a more positive sporting environment that can be enjoyed by all throughout competitive tiers.
Building on knowledge gained at local and regional level, the Board would like to undertake a nationwide project to engage with districts, clubs, organisers and participants to identify what the barriers are and where able and appropriate, provide support and opportunities to all within our sport.
The ultimate goal would be to increase participation of all groups and to improve percentage participation of those groups that are currently under-represented whilst promoting inclusivity and equality. We would aim to obtain detailed evidence from organisers and participants about what the current state of our sport is and a detailed action plan on a way forward.
- Create a working group within the community from national secretaries, organisers, districts, and participants to build dialog and trust.
- Create a channel of communication where ideas and solutions can be shared and discussed with a view to increasing participation or at least identifying why participation is declining.
- Identify any potential changes required to regulations/rules to support organisers and aid in improving overall participation and equality.
- Publish research within a working group - established by project lead - for feedback and ascertain any proposals.
- Publish research and proposals in a public environment after approval by the Board.
- Work with social media and publicity outlets to engage with the broader community to garner the needs of the community as a whole.
- Reduce any perceived barriers to participation and equality.
- Create an environment of equal opportunity and recognition within our sport for all participation groups. Including opportunities to participate, for recognition, for support and for review/input/feedback.
- Establishing a framework to support and guide event organisers on how to achieve equal opportunities, recognition, and higher participation.
- Work with partners to promote and support equal opportunities and increased participation within our sport.
- Create an action plan to continue with progress that all parties agree to with a regular review on progress.
The Board does not have the power to mandate equal prize money in an instant; in any case, mandating equal prize money will not fix the level of equality, recognition or opportunities presented to under-represented participation groups within our sport. This resolution would only affect a small minority of participants, which does not mean it should not be addressed, only that it is part of a bigger package, the outcomes of which will be determined by this project.
Using aggressive and intimidating language and making threats to event organisers will discourage some and therefore reduce participation and opportunities; it will also discourage newcomers and reduce participation from already under-represented groups. By including all within the sport in the process to identify the issues will help them to own the process. Providing districts and organisers with support and experience will encourage them to adopt it. Ultimately a big part of improving equality and opportunities is increasing participation and to do that, we need to find out what is stopping people from participating and to resolve that.
All areas of the cycling community have a part to play in providing a positive contribution to the improvement of our sport, from the press and media, to those using social media to share their experiences, to event organisers, districts, clubs, and participants. Part of increasing participation is creating a friendly and positive environment. Something we all need to play our role in.
The Board is fully supportive of improving participation and equal opportunities within Cycling Time Trials for all under-represented groups within our community. As such, the Board has unanimously voted to approve a proposal to dedicate a director, Glen Knight, to lead on this project and to engage with the community on all levels. Glen has already been in contact with the EPiC group and will be reaching out to others in the community very soon.
We will be looking to work with clubs, districts, and organisers to identify areas of improvement, propose changes where necessary and support clubs, organisers, and districts to achieve greater participation and equal recognition within events sanctioned under our regulations.
Cycling Time Trials is not alone with this problem, but we hope that the work we are prepared to do will showcase our discipline as a beacon of what can be achieved when all involved in the sport works together.
Equal prize money is one symptom of a greater problem of inequality which exists across the sporting world; one we hope to resolve with a greater understanding of the root cause.