Sport for Life and our approach to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Equality, diversity and inclusion: Toolbox: Learn the basics about equality, diversity and inclusion in sport, and progress to learning about inclusive design.

We know that there is inequality in sport and physical activity. We provide leadership to the sporting sector, to influence and drive the changes needed to address inequalities and ensure everyone has the opportunity to take part. Through this, we contribute to a more inclusive Scotland.

We are also committed to embedding a culture of inclusion in our organisation and ensuring that all employees are treated fairly, without discrimination because of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.

Our approach

Our corporate strategy, Sport For Life, sets out the direction for sport and sportscotland. It celebrates how everyone in Scotland can benefit from sport. It sets out our commitment to inclusion underpinning everything we do.

Our approach to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) brings this commitment to life. It is part of Sport For Life.

We need meaningful, intentional action to drive this change. We won't achieve this alone, and our EDI approach shows how we will play our part.

Our approach to EDI has three strands aligned to our Public Sector Equality Duties (PSED). Our overall approach responds to the findings of our Equality and Sport Research 2020.



We create greater workforce diversity at all levels and the contributions of everyone are valued.


We build systems that are inclusive by design and target provision for under-represented and excluded groups.


We experiment and co-produce new approaches with under-represented and excluded groups that respond to their needs. 

sportscotland's new approach to equality, diversity and inclusion workshop

Inclusive by design

Our goal is to build a system that is inclusive by design.

Our approach is about creating the environment for change and ensuring equality, diversity and inclusion is embedded in our work. It will become our business as usual.

We will help people experience the benefits of diversity. We will help them learn how to make inclusive decisions. We will provide tools to address bias. We will experiment and co-create new ideas and opportunities to take part, for groups who are under-represented in sport. This will drive improvement through our system.

Our people

  • We will lead by example by embedding EDI in recruitment, support and development of “our people”.
  • We will learn more about our culture and people’s experiences. We will support our staff and networks to learn more about how to make inclusive decisions.

Our system

  • We will shift our equality work from being driven by our equality outcomes. We will improve our understanding of mainstreaming to build a system that is inclusive by design. We will look at how we do things, as well as the activities we do.
  • Our mainstreaming approach won’t be tied to the protected characteristics within our equality outcomes. This leaves us free to look at how we make the system inclusive by design for all equality groups.
  • We will strengthen our continuous improvement process. We will bring our learning from our last equality outcomes to inform our mainstream work. This includes building on our work with women and girls, disabled people and those living in areas of high deprivation.

New ideas

  • Going forward, we will deliver our equality outcomes through the “New ideas” strand. Our aim is to tackle pressing inequalities in sport.  We will test new ideas for excluded groups and be prepared to fail and learn. Our work will evolve as we learn..
  • We have set person-centred, thematic outcomes to reach focus groups in a way that recognises their diversity. We will involve excluded groups from “start to finish” in the decision making. Our actions will be based on their diverse needs.
  • We will build on the networks and learning from our previous outcomes, as women and girls, disabled people and those living in areas of high deprivation are part of the diversity of the new focus groups. Intersectionality is a key point in our approach. For more information, please see: Our equality outcomes - New ideas.

Additional areas of responsibility

  • The following additional areas of responsibility also help us deliver the PSED:  
  • Mental Health Charter for Physical Activity and Sport:As a Charter signatory, we aim to improve equality and reduce discrimination for anyone with a mental health problem. 
  • Corporate Parenting:As a Corporate Parent, we have a responsibility to understand and respond to the needs of care-experienced young people as any parent should.   
  • Rural disadvantage:We recognise people in rural areas can find it difficult to access sport because of limited public transport, or fewer opportunities than urban areas. 

Moving forwards, we will continue to review and update Sport For Life with the EDI approach and a range of tools and resources.

Related content

Date published: 29 March 2023
Date updated: 23 November 2023


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