Increased awareness around topics such as social structures and privileges can help sport organisations to develop a more welcoming, inclusive and diverse environment.
To improve knowledge and understanding on the importance of diversity in sport, ENGSO and ENGSO Youth staff, with a presence of ENGSO President Stefan Bergh, ENGSO Secretary General Sara Massini, ENGSO Youth Chair Ugne Chmeliauskaitė and ENGSO Youth Vice Chair Filip Filipić, gathered in Valencia, Spain, on 24-27 February 2023, to test and evaluate a diversity training programme that has been recently developed by ENGSO and ENGSO EWS.
Led by ENGSO Equality Within Sport Committee member & Swedish Sports Confederation in Finland representative Tarja Krum, the training revolved around three key aspects;
1) To raise awareness of existing norms and privileges,
2) To question the beliefs of participants,
3) To choose a concrete action a staff member can implement based on their position within the organisation.
Through specific exercises and discussions, the ENGSO team had an opportunity to expand their awareness and reflect on topics such as social norms in sport, specifically to increase awareness of their own privileges or beliefs. After the presentation, the staff had the opportunity to work in teams, based on departments, to explore the different possibilities to introduce more diversity within the work of ENGSO. The teams also prepared the plan for 2023 on how to work and coordinate taking into account this aspect in the implementation of the activities.
Steering mechanisms, like safe space principles, were presented as an example of creating an atmosphere where people can communicate effectively, participate safely without a fear of being discriminated against, misjudged or abused. These principles work as an agreement between all the participants.
When talking about diversity it is crucial to understand the different characteristics and roles that belong to different groups. It is proven that a variety of backgrounds, cultures and experience contribute to more effective problem-solving, innovation, more successful performance and more sustainable sport organisations. Sport organisations can improve diversity by educating employees, members, the board, volunteers and other personnel involved about the importance of awareness, attitudes, norms and values, and through tools and steering mechanisms such as recruitment guidelines or anonymous recruitment.
The key takeaway of the training was the knowledge on understanding the lack of diversity in your sport organisation and solutions to tackle it:
1) Dig under the surface – something you do not see or experience might be an obstacle for someone else.
2) Make a change in sports by being norms aware.
Tips on diversity in sport organisation from participants of the workshop.
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