Wales Golf is celebrating becoming the first Welsh sport governing body to achieve the Advanced Level of the Equality Standard for Sport, the highest level given by the Sports Council Equality Group, made up of the five Sports Councils in the UK.
Wales Golf is also among the first sporting bodies in the UK to have achieved the Advanced Level, being recognised for delivering greater equality across the sport, from grassroots to elite level.
The award is given to organisations who have made significant progress towards diversity within board, staff, coaches, officials, members and participants, while building equality into all their policies and procedures.
“We are delighted to have become the first Welsh sport governing body to achieve this award,” said Wales Golf Chief Executive Hannah McAllister.
“It has been a long journey and it is thanks to the hard work of everyone involved with Wales Golf, embedding equality, diversity and inclusion into our working practises and values.
“We have also been working with clubs and local facilities to help remove barriers to participation.
“There is still lots of work to do but we will carry on driving this forward, making improvements and continuing to lead the way.”
As well as progress so far, the Advanced Level is also judged on the organisation developing further initiatives to address each protected characteristic.
The Equality Standard for Sport was first launched in 2004 through the five sports councils, then revamped in 2012 to reflect the latest quality legislation.
There are four levels which Wales Golf has been working through, starting at Foundation Level and going through to Advanced Level.
“I would like to congratulate and thank everyone in Wales Golf who have worked so hard to make this a core part of who we are and how we want to operate,” said Wales Golf Equality Lead Zoe Thacker.
“Part of earning the award is to have ongoing initiatives in place, so we will certainly not be resting on our laurels.
“This is a significant issue in sport and society and we are determined to play our part going forward.”
Some of the key equality and diversity statistics are that 20% of Welsh golf club members have a disability or impairment, while a third of all Welsh clubs have signed up to the Women in Golf Charter.
Also 40% of the Wales Golf Board are female, along with 57% of the staff, 12% of Wales Golf officials have a disability or impairment (compared to 2% in 2011), and 73% of New2Golf participants are female.
Equality awards assessor Chris Gibbons said of the Wales Golf submissions, “They’ve been a brilliant, and at times extremely entertaining, insight into how all your hard work at Wales Golf translates to the culture across the sport itself.
“As with all things equality and diversity, lots done and lots still to do, but you should be really proud of everything you’ve achieved.”
Sport Wales Acting Chief Executive Officer, Brian Davies added, “We would like to congratulate Wales Golf on achieving the Advanced Level of the Equality Standard for Sport.
“The Vision for Sport in Wales sets out the need for ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to engage in sport.
“This achievement recognises the commitment Wales Golf have given to equality, diversity and inclusion in their sport and we look forward to seeing the impact this will have on golf across Wales.”