Across the five weeks of September 2021 – rugby around the Oceania region joined together in showcasing, celebrating and acknowledging the role of girls and women across the game. Bringing the very best of Oceania’s women to the limelight.
The ever-growing need for encouragement and celebration of women in rugby contributed to the theme, ‘Women in Rugby…Respect’. Respecting the contributions of women to the game of rugby is vital to continue to inspire the next generation - both on and off the field - to pick up a Rugby ball and enjoy everything that the game has to offer.
Richard Sapias, Oceania Rugby President, is inspired by the repeated overwhelming response throughout the region and the way in which so many people have got behind this year’s Women in Rugby month.
“We have seen National and Provincial unions, local rugby clubs, individual players, coaches and fans involved in dedicating September to ‘Women in Rugby…Respect’ in their own way.” Said Sapias
“The interest and enthusiasm with which we saw everyone grab these opportunities shows, to paraphrase Gareth Baber during the Navigating the Coach Pathway webinar, that no matter your size, shape or story, there is a place for you in rugby.
“There is a growing respect and appreciation for women’s rugby and with ongoing work to change attitudes, create safe and accessible environments and growing female representation in all roles both on and off the field Oceania Rugby is looking forward to what 2022 onwards looks like for Women in Rugby.”
The many activities across the region provided a variety of ways for people to get involved ‘Women in Rugby…Respect’ this year.
Activities throughout the month included over 700 people register to attend one of the four Oceania Rugby online webinars; an increase in first time participation in Nauru; 46 people attend a stakeholder engagement workshop in Samoa with UN Women, Samoa Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee and other national organisations; and over 40 women have been attending a World Rugby Principles of Leadership and Management (PLM) Regional Course from Samoa, American Samoa, PNG, Tuvalu, Fiji, Tonga, Kiribati, Cook Islands, Solomon Islands.
Tofilau Avii Faalupga, Lakapi Samoa’s Womens Development Officer noted the dedicated month allowed the union to host a range of events to drive recruitment and participation throughout Samoa.
“It has been really heartening seeing girls and women so eager to get involve and participate in all parts of the game throughout this month. ‘Women in Rugby…Respect’ was an opportunity to continue providing education both on and off the field and put it into action to inspire the next generation.” Faalupga said.
The momentum gained through the successful Women in Rugby Month does not conclude with the end of September with Vanuatu and Kiribati focusing on Match Official courses throughout October and the Black Ferns are set to play their historic 100th test match in early November.
Women in Rugby month will be back with ferocity in 2022 ahead of Rugby World Cup 2021 (playing in 2022) in New Zealand.