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 Youth teamed up with ENGSO, 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.
The training took place in presence of ENGSO President Stefan Bergh, ENGSO Secretary General Sara Massini, ENGSO Youth Chair Ugne Chmeliauskaitė and ENGSO Youth Vice Chair Filip Filipić.
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 on diversity 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 ways of impact diversity in a sport organisation:
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.
Give more space for people to express themselves. Create safe spaces in workshops, meetings, activities.
Introduce safe place agreement at event registrations to contribute to a more fruitful and productive change and collaboration.
Try to create an inclusive environment from the very beginning of a new activity or project. Try to find the best solution for everyone in the group.
Try to make recruitment processes more open towards diversity with clear statements in the call and or changing language.
Do not take anything for granted and always treat people the same way no matter what.
Have in mind the power of language and what it can have an impact on: communication, documents, publications.
Make sure to include the voices of as diverse a group as possible when developing projects and its outcomes.
Listen better and give more space to all members, stakeholders and partners. Acknowledge the differences when trying to be more inclusive and increase diversity. Also always try to hear the voices that are usually “invisible”.
Enable people you work to consider their privilege within their sport and how they can change small things to be more welcoming to others who don’t fit in the norm.
Have the people involved in decision-making processes when it affects them.
Be more aware of how our background impacts or our perspective.
Be better aware of your own biases when working on projects that affect other people.
Have in mind what is your influence and how you can contribute to diversity through your work. Based on that change the strategy and implementation of tasks, listen to others to hear their views and think outside the box.
Do women’s finals after men’s finals in their own sport competitions and the award ceremony the same. Women after men. And also try to implement it in European level competitions.
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