Alliance speaks to leading professionals to celebrate South Asian Heritage Month

South Asian Heritage Month ()

To mark South Asian Heritage Month (SAHM) 2023, the Sport and Recreation Alliance has interviewed two influential figures about their experiences working in the sector, and their reflections on what can be done in the future to ensure equal opportunity exists for all.

This year the theme of SAHM is ‘Stories to Tell’, making it the perfect opportunity to share the stories of inspirational South Asian professionals working within the sport industry.

In the first episode of this instalment of our Inclusivity Podcast Series, we spoke to Jatin Patel, Inclusion and Diversity Director at England Rugby. Jatin spoke about his journey – from working for KPMG to following his passion in sport and becoming England Rugby’s first Inclusion and Diversity Director.

He also highlighted the impact of parental and societal pressures that are experienced by many young South Asians to go into more professional roles such as medicine or dentistry, before touching upon the current state of diversity in rugby and sport more widely in England.

Listen to the podcast, and find out more about the work sport organisations can do and the importance of having Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Leads in organisations:

In the second episode, we spoke to Yashmin Harun BEM, founder and Chair of the Muslimah Sports Association (MSA). One of the key points she raised was that South Asians are not a homogenous group and that each individual will have different experiences – something that she believes sport has not taken into consideration before.

Yashmin also shared her experience from working in the corporate world of banking and how the skills and knowledge she gained from that has helped her in the board roles she holds in the sport industry.

Find out more about Yashmin’s experience as a Muslim woman who wears a hijab working within the sport industry by listening to the podcast:

What is South Asian Heritage Month?

From 18 July to 17 August, South Asian Heritage Month (SAHM) aims to honour, observe, and rejoice in the rich culture and history of South Asia. The focus is specifically on the interconnected histories and cultural interactions of the South Asian diasporic communities in the UK.

As the world becomes more interconnected, celebrating cultural diversity has become an essential aspect of any progressive society. Sports organisations play a crucial role in promoting inclusivity and unity, making this commemorative month an excellent opportunity to recognise and celebrate the significant impact of South Asians in the world of sport and recreation.

In recent years, South Asian inclusion in sports has witnessed significant strides in the UK, contributing to a more diverse and representative sporting landscape. The growing presence of South Asian athletes and participants in various sports has been a crucial step towards breaking barriers and dispelling stereotypes. Despite these positive developments, challenges remain, including the need for increased representation at all levels of sports leadership and addressing cultural barriers that may hinder participation.

To listen to other podcasts, take a look at our Inclusivity Hub, which also features a range of other EDI resources.