At the Academy of Historical Arts, we are committed to fostering and maintaining an equal opportunities environment for all of our instructors, members, guests, and associates. Everyone is welcome to attend any of the activities run either directly by our organisation or by any of our affiliated clubs. We expect that all affiliated clubs will be welcoming and open in accordance with this policy and with our equality and inclusivity statement.
No discrimination will be tolerated towards anyone on any grounds, for any reason. Furthermore, bullying, harassment, and other more intangible forms of discrimination must be forbidden and dealt with wherever it might occur.
No member of any club should receive preferential treatment over any other member. Any promotions (such as, for example, to instructor status within a club) or privileges (such as, for example, enhanced access to club equipment outside normal training times) should be based on merit, experience, personal effort, knowledge, skill, and potentially need.
“Protected characteristics” are defined by the Equality Act 2010. [source] The following characteristics are “protected characteristics”:
- gender reassignment
- marriage and civil partnership
- pregnancy and maternity
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation
No one may be discriminated against for any reason related to any of these characteristics.
Specific exception: positive action
“Positive action” is defined by the Equality Act 2010. [source] This means that you can do something that might otherwise be discriminatory if you believe that a person or group of people:
- suffer a disadvantage connected to protected characteristic,
- have different needs from people who do not share that protected characteristic,
- who share a protected characteristic are not represented well in terms of participation.
For example, if you believe that relatively few women participate in an activity, and you would like to encourage more women to feel able to get involved, then you can run a women-only introductory session without it falling foul of discrimination legislation.
Specific exception: safety first
Safety must be a high priority at all times.
There is a duty to make reasonable adjustments in any activity so that people with disabilities may participate. [source] However, the Equality Act 2010 only requires that “every reasonable effort” should be made, and we also require that safety remains at the forefront of running every activity. If it would be unsafe to modify an activity beyond a certain point, then safety must take priority. [source]
While the Academy intends to remain as inclusive and as fair as possible, we acknowledge that sometimes some individuals will simply not be able to participate in activities for their own safety or for the safety of others.
Instructors and activity leaders should not be required to modify an activity if there are issues that the instructor is not trained to deal with, that may cause issues or hazards for the participant, for the instructor, or for anyone else.
Specific exception: fairness and safety in competitive sport
Organisers running competitive sports may make decisions regarding inclusion or exclusion (with relation to protected characteristics) in specific activities in the interests of fairness or safety, or where the activity is naturally gender-affected or age-affected, or to comply with the rules recognised by a national or international governing body, or in the interests of increasing participation in that activity. [source]
However, we do favour pursuing equal opportunities in martial arts competition where possible, rather than splitting competitors into different groups. We urge competition organisers to think about what you want to achieve with your event, and to choose the most suitable format to achieve those goals.