Rugby Africa has strengthened its support for gender equality by launching the Women’s Rugby Advisory Committee (WRAC).
The President of Rugby Africa, Khaled Babbou, says the formation of WRAC and its sub-committees is a massive step forward in developing leaders in women’s rugby.
"The aim is to achieve a minimum representation that includes 30 per cent of women in leadership roles and to have 40 per cent of the registered players to be female by 2025," Babbou said.
"Our goal is to continuously put women at the forefront of our strategic plan and ensure the objectives of each sub-committee serve in the interest of further developing the welfare and retention of female rugby players."
Women’s Rugby Manager at Rugby Africa, Maha Zaoui, said the creation of the WRAC and its four sub-committees has been instrumental towards building a global vision for women’s rugby in Africa.
"With the impact COVID-19 has placed globally we are able to work with the sub-committees to overcome challenges the pandemic has placed on world sports and identify untapped opportunities," Zaoui said.
Coralie van Den Berg, general manager at Rugby Africa, added: "The WRAC and creation of its sub-committees will ultimately help increase awareness of women in rugby, attracting more tournaments and partnerships with sponsors, increasing the overall popularity of the game in the continent."
Over the last decade women’s rugby on the African continent increased from 50,000 female players in 2012 to 260,000 in 2018 and 350,000 in 2020.
South Africa will participate in the next women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in 2022 and Kenya’s women are due to compete in rugby sevens at this summer’s scheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The WRAC will provide a platform for females in all spheres of rugby to be recognised for the crucial value their contribution and participation provides towards shaping the future of the global game.
The four sub-committees will focus on key areas of advancing governance and leadership, competitions, player welfare, development, and retention to meet strategic goals for women’s rugby across Africa.
Four chairpersons will take on areas of special responsibility within the WRAC.
Zeena Isaacs-Van Tonder, media manager at South African Rugby Union, will supervise the overall communications plan for Rugby Africa.
Regina Hellen Lunyolo, director of women’s rugby at Uganda Rugby Union will be in charge of leadership, training and conferences.
Anna Preira, a Board member of the Fédération Sénégalaise de Rugby Medical Committee, will supervise player welfare and participation, making use of social media.
Aaron Jani, President of Zimbabwe Rugby Union, will have charge of finance, development and competitions, reviewing available funding from World Rugby, Rugby Africa, and other unions.
Paula Lanco, chair of WRAC, said: "Our newly launched advisory committee and sub-committees has several unstoppables and influential union leaders who reflect our values and intent to encourage the global development of women in rugby, giving them equality on and off the field."