A wake-up call for club management
Little attention has been given to a rower whose discrimination claim against London Rowing Club has turned to Change.org to push her case.
If you are on the club organising committee, this illustrates the need to check your publicity website material and also to be sure you understand how a grievance procedure should work and the steps which can be taken to resolve.
Petra Saxby alleges both harassment and discrimination against the club and claims that British Rowing have not fully investigated her situation or followed their own grievance process.
Her claim is based around
This club refuse to provide the same level of membership, participation and support to women as they do men. Women train alongside the men in the squad but do not receive coaching and are not supported in entering races, and are told they ‘need to be very self sufficient women to train in the squad’.
Petra is looking for a lawyer to represent her.
She illustrates her complaint with extracts from London Rowing Club’s website
I never realised until after my grievance was raised it even states on their website two completely different things for men and women.
On the men’s squad page in the FAQs it reads:
‘Q. I’m worried I might not be experienced enough to row at London.
A. Don’t worry. Firstly, anyone can join London. We have a squad system, which allows us to accommodate varying levels of experience. For example, those who haven’t rowed before would join the “Learn2Row” group on a structured course, then continue to row casually until competent enough to join the Senior squad.’
It says nothing like this on the women’s page, in fact only if you are an “elite” rower are you encouraged to even consider being taken seriously. Whilst on the Recreational Rowing page it states:
‘In recent time ladies have become an important part of the group which has some 25 oarsmen and 10 oarswomen covering a wide spectrum in age and ability but all share the same joy in boating, exercise and comradeship.’
Resources for clubs
- British Rowing Club support documents – managing your club governance, Grievance and disciplinary
- British Rowing Club support documents – club constitution and codes of conduct
- Rules of British Rowing 2015 excerpt – Grievance Panel and Procedure
- Leander Club’s Code of Conduct and Athlete Agreement 2016