In celebration of International Women’s Day on Sunday 8 March, Southwell Racecourse will be hosting an all-female race card to celebrate a ‘record-breaking year’ for women in racing.
The fixture will be run in conjunction with the sport’s Diversity in Racing Steering Group, the BHA, Women in Racing and Great British Racing.
Rose Grissell, BHA Head of Diversity and Inclusion, explained: “International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate the achievements and talents of women across the world, as well as to raise awareness of some of the unique challenges and inequalities they face. There is no better way to celebrate the day than by providing further opportunities for female jockeys and showcasing their abilities through this fixture.
“Racing should be proud of the progress it has made. In the last twelve months alone, female jockeys broke down barriers and perceptions and in doing so put racing on the front pages of national papers. However, there is more to be done to ensure that they get the same opportunities as their male counterparts.
“The Diversity in Racing Steering Group is currently focusing on a significant piece of research looking at every stage of a jockey’s career to identify the barriers and explore where additional support could be added.”
A predominantly female team of BHA officials and racecourse executives will staff the day, in what will be a celebration of the achievements of women across British Racing.
Last year’s racecard saw Jump jockey, Bryony Frost, become the first ever female jockey to win a Grade 1 race during the Cheltenham Festival and Flat jockey Hollie Doyle break the record for most wins achieved in a calendar year by a female jockey.
Meanwhile Hayley Turner, who has over 840 wins to her name, became the first female jockey to win at Royal Ascot in 32 years.
Speaking on the all-female card, Turner said: “It’s great that Southwell are celebrating International Women’s Day with an all-female racecard. We ride against and at the same level as men so don’t think of ourselves as female jockeys, but this is a great way to celebrate the talented women in our sport.
“We are getting more and more recognition so this is a fantastic opportunity to showcase women in racing. I am from Southwell and went to school at Southwell Minster so it’s great to have a day’s racing like this close to home.”
Tallulah Lewis, Chair of Women in Racing commented: “Women in Racing was founded to support women across the sport, including female jockeys. Southwell’s all-women race card, with the majority of race day officials female also, provides a great opportunity to showcase female jockey talent and we’re delighted to work with all parties to help make this happen.
“We will continue our work to showcase the incredible female talent we have across the sport and help ensure that racing can benefit from this in the years ahead.”
As part of Women in Racing’s ‘Racing Home’ programme, they will host a workshop ahead of racing to address the issues that are faced by working mothers in the racing industry, following on from the inaugural Racing Home symposium that took place in October 2019.
Executive Director of Southwell Racecourse, Mark Clayton, concluded: “We are delighted to host this fixture in celebration of International Women’s Day and help to promote the role that women play across the racing industry, from jockeys to BHA, racecourse staff and beyond.”