Rugby Africa in scrum for gender parity in the sport with new advisory committee

Rugby Africa in scrum for gender parity in the sport with new advisory committee


Rugby Africa moved its campaign for gender equality notch higher with the launch on Thursday of Women’s Rugby Advisory Committee (WRAC) and sub-committees that will be charged with the promotion of the sport among women.

As part of Rugby Africa’s broader strategy, the role of WRAC and its sub committees will define key performance indicators that point to progress of the development of women in rugby across Africa. The move targets the promotion gender inclusion to foster growth through experience in the sport.

The committee will also provide a platform for women in all spheres of rugby to be recognised for the crucial value their contribution and participation provides towards shaping the future of the global game.

The four sub-committees will focus on key areas of advancing governance and leadership, competitions, player welfare, development and retention to meet strategic goals for women’s rugby in Africa. To grow the sport, they will be required to implement specific objectives through sub-committees that will be under different chairpersons.

South African Rugby Union media manager will chair the communication, marketing and public relations subcommittee that has been tasked with overall communications plan for Rugby Africa. The committee will promote the profile of women’s rugby.

The leadership, training and conferences subcommittee will to review and track member unions’ women in leadership and develop strategies that support their identity, engagement and empowerment through conferences, awards, panel discussions and interviews. It will be chaired by Regina Hellen Lunyolo, who is the director of women’s rugby at Uganda Rugby Union.

Fédération Sénégalaise de Rugby medical subcommittee member Anna Preira will be in charge of player welfare and participation. The subcommittee will serve also as Rugby Africa Women’s Rugby grassroots development. Among other things, the subcommittee will foster participation and support towards local activities and initiatives, while leveraging their social media engagement to publicise women’s rugby gains and achievements.

The President of Zimbabwe Rugby Union Aaron Jani who will head the health the finance, development and competitions subcommittee. The subcommittee will review available funding from World Rugby, Rugby Africa and Unions to assess the impact and propose enhanced funding strategies where applicable.

The new step for Rugby Africa is seen as confirmation of its ambition to innovate and invest in quality experiences for women in the rugby.

Women’s Rugby Advisory Committee chair Paula Lanco said promised that her subcommittee is embracing its future to promote and position women in rugby at all levels, equipping them with adequate resources and the support needed to succeed and retain interest from fans and ultimately investors to further enhance the game.

“Our newly launched advisory committee and subcommittees has several Unstoppables and influential union leaders who reflect our values and intent to encourage the global development of women in rugby, giving them equality on and off the field,” said Lanco.

WRAC committee, through creation of subcommittees, has made strides via appointment of quality members that will focus on review and implementation of finance strategies, leveraging publicity opportunities and maintaining the overall welfare of players by providing access to trainers, coaches and educators.

Rugby Africa Women’s Rugby Manager Maha Zaoui said the creation of WRAC and its four subcommittees will be instrumental in building a global vision for African women’s rugby.

“With the impact Covid-19 has placed globally we are able to work with the subcommittees to overcome challenges the pandemic has placed on world sports and identify untapped opportunities,” said Zaoui.

The President of Rugby Africa Khaled Babbou said the formation of WRAC and the sub-committees is an important step in developing leadership in rugby as it aligns with the recent International Women’s Day theme of Women in Leadership: “Achieving an equal future in a Covid-19 world and our strategic goal for women in rugby.”

“The aim is to achieve a minimum representation that includes 30 per cent of women in leadership roles and to have 40 per cent of the registered players to be female by 2025.

“Our goal is to continuously put women at the forefront of our strategic plan and ensure the objectives of each subcommittee serve in the interest of further developing the welfare and retention of female rugby players,” said Babbou.

General Manager at Rugby Africa Coralie van Den Berg testifies that, “the WRAC and creation of its subcommittees will ultimately help increase awareness of women in rugby, attracting more tournaments and partnerships with sponsors, increasing the overall popularity of the game in the continent.”

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