One of Rugby Africa’s mission is to develop women’s rugby on the continent. It is a daily fight requiring a lot of work, will and courage. By changing mindsets we are enabling women to express themselves through this sport of strong values.
We still face many challenges. First of all, some unions haven’t yet made women’s rugby development one of their priorities. Then religious considerations, public opinion, cultural background can be hindrances as well. Finally the lack of women in the unions leadership and the lack of players and infrastructure make it difficult for those who want to play to practice their sport of choice. On top of which young ladies seldom have a female role model to look up to in the world of rugby.
Fortunately every problem has its solution. The process can be long, but facilitated by the implementation of strict measures. Make women’s rugby compulsory, encourage development programs and assist unions to implement them, adapt as best as possible to religious or cultural constraints. Let’s not forget that barriers are never unbridgeable. We can help integrate women into the unions staff and leadership, protect and communicate about women’s rugby, make women’s competitions more attractive and increase the promotion around these players by means of movies, photos, articles.
The Get Into Rugby program is also a springboard for women’s rugby and Rugby Africa expects a lot from it. A girl who plays rugby, who makes new acquaintances there, who discovers the values of this sport and who takes pleasure in playing, will become one day a woman and a mother who will pass on this passion to her own children.
In 2018, World Rugby will organise in partnership with Rugby Africa a Women’s Rugby Leadership forum, in Gaborone , Botswana (see more informations on the African Women Rugby Conference). This conference will be a proof of commitment to push women’s rugby upward.
Rugby Africa Regional Development Officers have made it one of their top priority. Union’s support will be increased, specific workshops for Union’s Development Officers will be organized. Communication will also have a major role in this battle, it is necessary to raise awareness, create links between unions, between players and establish common strategies. Developing visibility for women will likely raise interest from a lot of amateurs. Photos, videos, movies, any kind of exposure will help the cause.
The Confederation wishes to integrate women, it is out of question to leave women’s rugby aside. It is hand in hand that Rugby Africa and the African unions will rise to this major challenge !