The RFL has confirmed, on International Women’s Day, that it is launching a ‘Framework for Women in Rugby League’ this Spring.
The Framework aims to consolidate and rationalise all the ways that women are involved in rugby league, whether as players, coaches, match officials, volunteers, administrators, media, parents, fans and supporters.
Sarah-Jane Gray is development and public affairs director at the Rugby Football League.
“Rugby League is incredibly well supported by women,” she said.
“Forty per cent of ticket buyers are women, a ratio that is far better than most major sports.
“Women are involved in every part of the sport and we are committed to helping more women to gain a coaching qualification, as many women are involved in informal coaching and supporting young players.
“We have refreshed the Women’s League this year, including the addition of our first Women’s Super League fixtures.
“We are working with clubs, Foundations and partners to increase the number of playing opportunities for girls and women and we are proud supporters of Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign and our Sky Try campaign is giving tens of thousands of young girls the chance to get involved in our sport for the first time.
“As a National Governing Body and leading sports employer, the Rugby Football League has a strong commitment to equality and diversity, and is working hard to remain at the forefront of this agenda.
“There’s more to do, but it is such an exciting time and I urge all partners who’d like to get involved to join us.”
Chris Chapman, England Women’s RL head coach, believes that standards are climbing fast in the women’s game in the UK.
“This International Women’s Day I am proud to wish every player success as they begin the domestic season this weekend,” he said.
“I am looking forward to observing players’ performances as I look to identify players for the England Women’s RL team who will represent the nation in the Rugby League World Cup in Australia this autumn.
“The standard of the women’s game is improving all the time. The players are supported by fantastic community Rugby League clubs and we take this opportunity to thank them for everything they do for women’s Rugby League.
“England Women’s RL play their first game against Papua New Guinea in Sydney on 16 November – it should be an outstanding tournament and showcase for the women’s game.”
Jodie Cunningham, who plays for reigning Women’s RL champions Thatto Heath-St Helens and is vice captain of the England national team, wants to see more women involved in the game.
“This International Women’s Day, I encourage women of all ages to get involved in rugby league,” she said.
“It is a truly great sport, which has given me some unbelievable experiences in the grassroots game and as an England player.
“I get to grow and test myself against the best in country and the world with my best mates by my side.
“Women’s rugby league is in an exciting place at the moment and there is no better time to get involved.”
Tom Brindle is Sustainable Clubs and Development Manager at the Rugby Football League.
“Rugby league is a great sport to play and to watch and our clubs are some of the friendliest in sport.
“I’d encourage anyone thinking of having a go to contact their local club or the Rugby Football League.
“With a home World Cup on the horizon in 2021 who knows where the sport could take you?”