Over two days, in Asunción, Paraguay, the first Women in Rugby Forum in South America brought together officials, current administrators, former players and role models of the women’s game to discuss the role of women in rugby and the future growth in a region that has shown very positive growth figures.

Participants flew home from the Sudamérica Rugby organised event with the commitment to incorporate and educate people for decision-making roles within their own countries, aiming for a bigger incorporation of women in these positions.

Best practices were exchanged and, with a positive interaction among the 30 participants, common goals set for the growth in the role of women in rugby, generating more and better women’s rugby in South America.

Katie Sadleir, World Rugby’s General Manager of Women’s Rugby, was in attendance and said: “I have been in South America for two weeks now, visiting Colombia, Brazil, Argentina and now Paraguay. I’ve been delighted with the passion and the way people in rugby work in the region. The future for women interested in rugby in South America is very encouraging.

“The forum was very positive, with those present committing to strengthening communications beyond their borders, sharing good practices, introducing women’s rugby in schools and creating opportunities for women interested in taking decision-making roles. All of this was very good.

“I look forward to seeing and hearing how they’ve all moved forward and the success stories over the next six months, when plans to accelerate the development of women in rugby in South America are put in place, as our Women’s Plan 2017-25 states.”

Recognising and thanking the leadership of World Rugby in the acceleration of women’s rugby and its leaders, the forum participants understood the key role they will have in this new process of growth, development, leadership, administration, promotion and execution of rugby for both genders.

Soledad Galleguillos, Women’s Rugby Development Officer in Chile Rugby and recipient of World’s Rugby Women’s Executive Leadership Scholarship, considered the forum as a great opportunity.

“It is clear that women’s rugby and the role of women within the game has grown. There is still a long road ahead, but the only way to move forward is working hard,” the former Chile international said. 

“Those of us participating in the forum had the same passion and will to work for and be part of the change.”

In closing the forum, Marcello Calandra, Vice-President of Sudamérica Rugby, said: “We thank all of those who took their time to work for a bigger and more inclusive game, one in which women must have their space and roles, which in turn will help the growth of countries within our region.

“For Sudamérica Rugby and World Rugby, these opportunities are very important as they show that we are a growing region.”

Representatives from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, Uruguay and Paraguay attended the Women in Rugby Forum.