Initial results of the World Sailing Trust global Participation Study that was launched in March 2021, confirm long held anecdotal evidence that sailing is, predominantly, a sport for over 45 year old, white men. So far, two thirds of respondents are male, of these of 85% are of white ethnicity and over half aged 45 and above.
A first analysis of questions relating to demographic representation shows that women were 13% more likely to feel that age was an issue, while 69% of men felt that ethnicity was under represented as compared to 29% of wo men. Unsurprisingly, 89% of women felt that gender was an issue, compared to just 9% of men.
Women also felt more strongly about representation relating to sexual orientation with 51% of women compared to 35% of men. But more men than women felt that disability was an issue, with 60% of men feeling that disability was underrepresented compared to 40% of women.
This data coupled with the results of the 2019 Strategic Review into Women in Sailing present some very real issues and a strong requirement to create and develop pathways for greater equity and inclusion from grass roots through to the sport’s most elite events. Launched almost two years after the Trust’s global survey on women in the sport, the Participation Study will serve as a benchmarking survey to assess sailing across all its disciplines, on a global scale.
The Study will remain open until the end of August and results will be presented in Autumn 2021. For those wishing to add their voice, please click here to take the survey.
The mission of the Participation Study is to build a sport that is able to attract, retain and enable talent across in all its forms, and has a robust equity, diversity and inclusion policy. This will support greater participation and improved performance and will strengthen the future of sailing on a global basis.
The publication of the World Sailing Trust’s Strategic Review into Women in Sailing in 2019 highlighted major issues of gender discrimination in the sport of sailing, confirming long-held anecdotal evidence that the sport was gender biased at every level. The results revealed a lack of diversity and inclusion, highlighting the need for action to ensure that sailing is ready for the seismic shift towards greater equity across all global cultures.
The 2021 Participation Study will set out to establish the status quo and identify how the sport reflects the world in 2021. However, continued monitoring and benchmarking of participation levels, and assessing and monitoring trends, is critical. As a result, the Participation Study will be repeated every two years so as to identify change and support those areas where there has been no significant advancement.
“By researching the sport, the aim is to explain the underlying mechanisms of how it functions, address how to best develop programmes to support its longevity, and assess the direction and strength of trends in participation,” commented Dee Caffari, Chair of World Sailing Trust.
“Looking specifically through the lens of equity, diversity and inclusion, the report will aim to give a quantitative overview of sailing today and put forward a series of recommendations to identify and mitigate bias, respect differences, build empathic relationships, manage conflict and bring out the best in others – all of which are key elements in any great sports team.”
The survey is hosted by Qualtrics and is available in English, Spanish, French, and Italian.