Scottish Rugby launches transformational Women and Girls’ Strategy
Scottish Rugby has today published its Women & Girls’ Strategy 2022-2026 to develop and grow the game at every level over the next four years.
Scottish Rugby is targeting the opportunities women’s rugby presents having previously identified it as one of three strategic priorities in its 2021-2024 Corporate Strategy, entitled ‘Wellbeing, Women and Winning’ launched last year.
Built on the incredible work that has gone on in the club and international game over the last three decades by the pioneers of women’s rugby, the 2022-2026 Women & Girls’ Strategy is designed to grow participation and representation in rugby on and off the pitch and increase the visibility of women’s rugby nationwide.
The focus of the strategy will be around four P’s; Participation, Pathway, Pipeline and Performance. These key areas are underpinned by a holistic approach which is needed to develop the women and girl’s game across the board to create long term growth and sustainability.
We will invest in seven strategic priority areas, our key building blocks, that will impact across the four P’s. These are; ‘Empowering leadership’, ‘Positive introduction to rugby’, ‘Playing pathway for all’, ‘Building capacity in our clubs’, ‘Developing the future of performance rugby’, ‘A winning Scotland’ and ‘Let them see what they can be’.
These building blocks focus on growing the game on the field and the infrastructure off the field but also encompass the enabling factors that allow us to sustainably develop the sport. They recognise the importance of visibility, commercialisation, and investment as underpinning factors vital for the future of our game.
Last year Scottish Rugby invested £1.6m directly into the women and girls’ game.
In endorsing the strategy, the Scottish Rugby Board has agreed to an additional investment of up to £2.5m covering the first year of the strategy which will be invested in all areas of the pathway taking the total women and girls’ funding up to £4.1m, more than double the previous year’s allocation.
Part of this investment will be focussed on continuing the journey towards professionalising the women’s game as we commit to a minimum of 30 contracted rugby players following on from the Rugby World Cup.
Head of Women and Girls’ Strategy, Gemma Fay said: “This is an extremely exciting time to be involved in women and girl’s rugby and I feel privileged to have been able to work with a fantastic group of people, both within Scottish Rugby and within rugby in Scotland, who are equally excited by the opportunities we see in front of us.
“This strategy will enable us to channel the passion, enthusiasm and interest that there is for the game within Scotland and ultimately grow the sport. We will focus on connecting all aspects of what it takes to develop a sustainable, thriving game to ensure that we support our clubs to build capacity, establish a clear pathway for our players and people and ensure Scotland Women are supported to be successful on the international stage.
“Rugby is a game for all and it is important that we provide a pathway that is for all, whether that is in a Scotland shirt or simply have an enjoyable experience on and off the field at their respective level.
“We want to harness the current momentum we have seen post-pandemic in the women’s game and create long lasting, transformational change, allowing women and girl’s rugby to define its own unique identity within the rugby landscape in Scotland.
“I’d like to thank everyone involved in women and girl’s rugby in Scotland who contributed to the consultation period which gave us an excellent insight into the direction of travel the strategy should take and many creative and innovative ideas to be developed.”
Scottish Rugby Chief Executive, Mark Dodson said: “Scotland led the way in terms of women in leadership positions when Dee Bradbury became the first female President of a Tier One Nation in 2018.
“From the pioneers of Scotland’s first international game at Raeburn Place in 1993 and the Grand Slam win in 1998 to our current national team qualifying for the 2021 Rugby World Cup (played in 2022), Scotland Women have, and continue to be, inspiring role models for the thousands of players in clubs across Scotland, promoting the positive opportunities the sport can provide for women and girls at all levels.
“We are fully committed to this important and comprehensive Strategy. As a core pillar of our business strategy the breadth and depth of our ambition to grow the women and girls’ game is evident and I believe there are exciting times ahead for our sport in this area.”
Director of Rugby Development, Gav Scott, said: “Over the last decade women and girl’s rugby in Scotland has increased with participation levels growing from 2,680 to 6,173. As rugby emerges from the COVID 19 pandemic we have seen an unprecedented rise in participation figures, and we intend to capitalise on this growth.
“The whole team at Scottish Rugby are excited to get started with the plans for the new league and game play structures, the Leadership Academies and mentoring programmes. We will harness the momentum created this season to not only get more women and girls on the field but to also welcome more coaches and referees who are women.
“We acknowledge the underrepresentation of women within coaching, officiating, volunteering and decision-making roles within clubs. This strategy will help us support the clubs to provide opportunities for women to get involved in these key roles and most importantly, we want to retain them and ensure that a correct pathway can help everyone get the most from our fantastic sport.”