HKRU part of a global effort to support women leadership

April 26, 2019

The 2nd Women's Rugby Leadership Forum attracted stars of both Hong Kong and international rugby. 

Photo credit: Hong Kong Rugby Union


Not too far away from the action at the Women's Sevens Qualifier in So Kon Po, a team of players, coaches and directors gathered at KPMG's Causeway Bay office on April 4th, albeit for slightly a different purpose.  


Familiar faces such as Kim Boreham, Sam Feausi, Jo Hull, and Natasha Olson-Thorne were joined by international figures such as New Zealand superstar Portia Woodman and England veteran Nolli Waterman for the Women's Rugby Leadership Forum, hosted by the Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU).


With the aim of the Forum to share insight and advice surrounding a range of leadership roles and opportunities available to women, Boreham noted the role of World Rugby as a driving force in this regard. 


Director of Women's Rugby Kim Boreham addresses an audience. Photo credit: Hong Kong Rugby Union


“By 2024, rugby will be a global leader in sport, where women involved in rugby have equity on and off the field, are reflected in all strategy, plans and structures, making highly valued contributions to participation, performance, leadership and investment in the global game of rugby," they stated. 


In keeping with their commitment, World Rugby aim to achieve 30% female representation within the board, while recognising that just as the contributions of women go above and beyond the scope of 'women's issues', male board members have proven capable of catalysing meaningful change in the women's game. 



Recent markers of this include: 


• A 28% increase in total registered female players in 2018


• Women accounting for more than a quarter of total players globally.


• A 37% increase in video views from female audiences.


• 14 women’s leadership development scholarships being awarded in 2019.


• Regional leadership forums being held in Botswana, Madrid & Bangkok, aimed at providing strategic direction to the regional growth of Women’s Rugby.


Photo credit: Hong Kong Rugby Union


Indeed, the HKRU has been spearheading the rise of Women's Rugby in Asia, building a bustling community of players and leaders each heavily involved in multiple aspects of local rugby.   


For one, the Union is one of few to have two full-time women’s managers in Jo Hull, Head of Women’s Performance at the HKRU and National XVs coach, and Sam Feausi, Head of Women’s Development. 


On a club level, the likes of Gai Wu and USRC Tigers have previously featured chairwomen in the form of Candy Cheng and Lorna Meads respectively. 


The recent appointment of Sarah Monaghan as General Manager of Hong Kong Scottish's Premiership side could also pave the way for women to make their mark on the men's game as well.  


For the benefit of the sport, one hopes that the prospect of passing on a wealth of experience as leaders of the next generation of rugby will be relished by an increasing number of former women's players, both in Hong Kong and beyond.  



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