Women’s rugby is one of sport’s great success stories, experiencing unprecedented growth around the world and represents the single greatest opportunity for growth in the next decade.
Underpinned by World Rugby’s Women’s Plan 2017-25, a new Women in Rugby brand and the ‘Try and Stop Us’ campaign, female participation levels are at an all-time high with 2.7 million players globally. More than a quarter of the overall playing population is now female, and there has been a 28 per cent increase in registered players since 2017.
With a third of representatives on the World Rugby Council now female, women are fully immersed in the key decisions being taken to ensure further growth in the future. Steps have also been taken to create opportunities for future leaders to emerge with 49 World Rugby Women’s Executive Leadership Scholarships handed out from 2018-21 and an innovative Coaching Internship Programme in operation for Rugby World Cup 2021 to create high-performance coaching opportunities for women at the highest level.
On the field, there are the Tokyo Olympic Games to look forward to in 2021 and a Rugby World Cup in New Zealand now to be played in 2022 after the showpiece event was postponed. In March 2021, World Rugby also announced a new global women’s competition and unified international 15s calendar as part of its Strategic Plan for the Rugby World Cup cycle leading up to 2025.