Role models pinpointed as key to female success in racing

Women In Racing chair Tallulah Lewis sees role models such as Hollie Doyle as a vital asset in inspiring others to succeed across the sport.

Speaking on International Women’s Day, Lewis announced the launch of a campaign – with the tagline ‘Striding for More’ – and events throughout this week, after working with Great British Racing and other groups across the industry.

The mission of the Women In Racing initiative, which is independent of GBR and the British Horseracing Authority, is to develop the profile of women throughout the sport.

The achievements of record-breaker Doyle and other high-profile jockeys and trainers can only help, and Lewis told Sky Sports Racing: “You can never have too many role models.

Hollie Doyle was a Group One winner at Ascot on Champions Day
Hollie Doyle was a Group One winner at Ascot on Champions Day (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“It’s something we try to focus on, shedding a light on the fact that women are making up more than half of our industry – and doing every role out there.

“We all know how well role models work – and if you see someone in a position, and you relate to them, then you are more likely to push yourself to succeed.”

Lewis stresses much work remains to be done, though.

“It’s always going to be ongoing,” she said.

“We are very happy that the horseracing industry really does do a lot to support and showcase women throughout the sport.

“The fact we have the Diversity In Racing Steering Group is very positive.

Hayley Turner has been a trailblazer for female jockeys
Hayley Turner has been a trailblazer for female jockeys (Edward Whitaker/PA)

“It is really important to us – and 70 per cent of incoming staff into the sport and through the racing schools are female, which is fantastic, and 29 per cent of racecourse roles are held by women.

“These numbers are all going up and up. We’ve seen three per cent increases year on year, which is really positive.”

Lewis is concerned, however, that better provision for working mothers is a pressing need in the sport.

“It is very evident that there might be gaps in the support for working mothers,” she said.

“It’s a global issue, and not necessarily just relating to the horseracing industry, but we definitely think as a sport there is a lot more that can be done.

“We know there’s a lot of staff turnover in the sport – with staff leaving the sport, we think a lot of it is related to the provisions in place for working mothers.

“If we can change that, I think we’ll have a really positive impact on it.”

Lewis hopes Women In Racing’s new campaign will help to boost those efforts.

“We’re really excited this week, because the racing industry has come together to launch the campaign,” she added.

“We’ve worked with Great British Racing, and across the industry with people from racecourses, jockeys and stable staff.

“We will focus on those roles and highlight them, and I think it’s going to be a fantastic campaign all week.”