Lewes FC is well known for our equality stance, having taken the decision in 2017 to split our resources equally between our men's and women's first teams, becoming the first club in the world to do so.
We treat and value both teams the same, meaning we play on the same pitch in the same ground, use the same training facilities, have the same playing budget and invest the same into marketing. Decisions around allocation of pitch time, or coaches or visibility are not therefore, by default made in favour of the men's team.
Our board is one third female and we run regular programmes to support diversity in our operations beyond the pitch. For example, by identifying and running media programmes to support aspiring journalists from underrepresented backgrounds or supporting community projects and partnership organisations outside of our own bubble.
As a 100 per cent community-owned club, it’s in our DNA to ensure that we are an asset to all of our community and not just some of it.
We've made a name for ourselves as a club as a leader in gender equality, but we have plenty of work to do to ensure we increase our gender and racial diversity across our operations and leadership staff, our board and coaching staff.
We believe that specific targets are a useful way of measuring progress and moving from words to action. We know that some of the targets will be a challenge to meet but it's useful to check and monitor ourselves.
One of the key barriers holding back the progress of women's sport is the lack of diversity in decision-making rooms. Homogenous rooms will make homogenous decisions in how the group works, hires, invests and prioritises.
Diversifying leadership - and crucially, listening to those who are newly hired in - can provoke more innovative-thinking and will lead to decisions that benefit a wider demographic.
This Diversity Code is a good step forward for all clubs, and is a useful tool to move away from words to action.