World Rugby is celebrating International Women’s Day 2017 and its #BeBoldForChange initiative with a renewed commitment to further the profile, development, sustainability and success of the women’s game.
Under the guidance of the Women’s Advisory Committee, World Rugby will commence an unprecedented and comprehensive consultation process with players, fans, unions, regional associations, commercial and broadcast partners. Designed to capture the needs of a game that continues to experience record growth, it will lead to a dynamic 2017-2025 plan for women’s rugby.
The announcement comes in a massive year for the sport with Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 in Ireland set to inspire a new generation of girls and boys to get into rugby. Already one of the fastest growing team sports in the world, there are now more than 2.2 million women and girls playing the game around the globe (approx.25 per cent of the total playing base), while 39 per cent of the 1.99 million Get Into Rugby participants in 2016 were female.
The new global plan will aim to build on this record growth, with World Rugby pledging to work with the rugby community to:
- Increase participation through sustainable development
- Build high performance through quality competition
- Drive inspirational leadership and inclusive governance
- Build an impactful profile, breaking down barriers
- Grow audience and investment
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “International Women’s Day 2017 is urging people to be bold for change and we are determined to ensure rugby provides women with opportunities to get involved at all levels of the game, while continuing to be one of the fastest growing team sports for women and girls.
“We are committed to working with the rugby community to develop a bold eight year plan that identifies opportunities on and off the field, addresses challenges and builds a better, stronger game for all.”
World Rugby General Manager, Women’s Rugby, Katie Sadleir said: “A strong game needs strong female participation and in order to achieve that, we must be bold for change and ensure that we are delivering opportunities in the playground, the podium and the boardroom to build a relevant, fun, exciting and sustainable game.
“The women’s plan does not just intend to build upon the successful foundations of the 2011-16 strategic plan, but eliminate barriers ensuring rugby is a progressive, modern, attractive, dynamic and inclusive sport played by girls and women, men and boys around the world. It is critical that globally we are innovative, bold and prepared to act on the collective needs of the game and a whole new generation of players and fans.”
The game’s biggest stars have joined the global rugby family in celebrating the International Women’s Day with players and fans at all day joining the conversation on social media using the call to action #CelebratingRugby.
As the countdown continues to Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017, the rugby family is also looking ahead to what promises to be an inspirational and record-breaking tournament between August 9-26.