Kicking out the men in suits can change the heart of women’s rugby | Robert Kitson

Kicking out the men in suits can change the heart of women’s rugby | Robert Kitson

The Guardian

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Women’s rugby has been ruled for years by middle-aged men but there is confidence that the tide is turning with rising numbers playing and increasing sponsorship

The Suez Canal is finally free of its massive obstruction and so, increasingly, is women’s rugby. For years theirs was a sport ruled entirely by men in suits, the only visible difference being the belly sizes of the old boys around the committee table. In profile terms, the women’s Six Nations operated so far in the shadows of its male cousin as to be only clearly visible to those determined to look.

Now, not before time, there is finally progress both in terms of on-field recognition – soaring standards, increased global participation, Olympic heroines – and off-field representation. “When I was first appointed four years ago we were governed by 30 men,” says World Rugby’s women’s general manager, Katie Sadleir. “There have been decisions over the last two to three years that might have been made eventually but wouldn’t have been made as quickly if diversity hadn’t been in place.”

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