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As Rugby World Cup 2021 kicks off in New Zealand, leaders from the Grassroots to Global Series across the global rugby community launched an Instagram channel this month to further connect and promote women in grassroots rugby leadership.
Grassroots to Global is a series of Forums uniting women who are leading grassroots rugby across communities and countries. The initiative, supported by ChildFund Rugby, has engaged Unions across five continents to date and is still accepting applications from other Unions interested in hosting in the future.
The series aims to generate action toward addressing the challenges young women face in joining and staying involved in rugby. Grassroots to Global women will work together to tackle these challenges to achieve equity on and off the field, and their discussions will inform global rugby leaders at a Grassroots to Global Connect event in New Zealand this November.
“The @grassrootstoglobal Instagram channel is a good platform to highlight the progress made by the women of Grassroots to Global, as well as to encourage women from other unions to join and be part of the growing global movement for gender equity in rugby,” said Ada Milby, President of the Philippine Rugby Football Union.
“In the Philippines, the series supercharged the women’s game. We had all of these women come together who were able to identify some barriers and challenges and some drivers to help push forward or remove some of the barriers identified,” added Milby. “I think we have already seen some of the results of the supercharged growth from the initial Grassroots to Global pilot – we had a record number of women run for a Board position in the history of Philippines Rugby last year, resulting in an increase from one female member to two female board members. Thanks to initiatives like Grassroots to Global and the support of the rugby family, more women are able to raise their hands into leadership and say that they want to at least have a go at taking on these responsibilities.”
In addition to boosting growth in club rugby and leadership in Philippines, Grassroots to Global has increased game growth and leadership in other countries that hosted the Forum, including in Kenya where women’s participation in World Rugby Training and Education sourses tripled in the month following the Forum. In Laos, the Grassroots to Global team have been awarded a 10,000 Euro grant to implement their Inclusion in Sports Model Schools Project. Meanwhile in Türkiye, the National Olympic Committee lauded the Forum as the first opportunity for girls and women in sports leadership to come together, network, and take action around concrete improvements for girls and women in sport.
“Grassroots to Global has united young women leading rugby at the community level around the world. We can see the passion and inspiration for their sport and for developing leadership from this grassroots group and we are thrilled to play a small role in supporting their personal and professional development, as well as helping provide seed funding for their ideas to take shape,” said Margaret Sheehan, ChildFund Australia CEO.
By supporting groups of emerging female leaders in countries around the world, the series complements the World Rugby Executive Leadership Scholarship, a World Rugby program that identifies and supports the current and next generation of female leaders in rugby.
The Grassroots to Global Series is women-led and brings the voices of grassroots community rugby leaders together to generate a call to action to achieve equity on and off the field in grassroots rugby for future generations of girls and women.
ChildFund Rugby is led by ChildFund Australia, an independent international development organisation that works to reduce poverty for children in developing communities and a member of the ChildFund Alliance – a global network of 12 organisations which assists almost 23 million children and their families in 70 countries. For more information visit www.childfundrugby.org