The Samoa Rugby Union (S.R.U) kicked off a two-day Women’s Rugby conference yesterday.
Guided by the theme of ‘Pledge for parity,’ the conference commemorated International Women’s day.
Leading the conference are Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea’i, C.E.O of S.R.U; Kylie Bates, the director of GameChangers; C.E.O of the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development, Fuimapoao Beth Onesemo-Tuilaepa; Siliniu Lina Chang, President of Samoa Victim Support Group and Suisala Mele Maualaivao, of U.N Women.
The conference follows the launch of the Union’s Strategic plan last year, which highlighted the importance of developing the ‘Get into Rugby’ (G.I.R) programme to include women.
According to Faleomavaega, rugby is a male dominated sport but S.R.U will push to correct the imbalance with the help of their stakeholders, sponsors and business partners.
“S.R.U from our stats over the last two years saw just under 10,000 registered players plus another 14,000 unregistered making it easily the most popular sport in Samoa and continues to be our national sport,” Faleomavaega said.
“Whilst these stats are mostly male dominated, we will address this imbalance through the development of women through rugby over the next four years.”
S.R.U has already begun operations on the strategic plan with the development team out promoting the sport to young women.
“The development team is out introducing the game through our ‘G.I.R’ program at schools, giving an opportunity to young girls to learn about the game and its laws,” Faleomavaega said.
“We also create awareness not just for players but to show the numerous opportunities as coaches, referees and administrators for women.”
According to Faleomavaega they have already seen some benefits with having women in the game of rugby.
“During the historical Manu vs. All Blacks game last year, I had the pleasure of working with some women volunteers in the organizing committee as Administrators and they blew me away with their commitment,” he said.
“They brought to S.R.U the passion and work ethics which was lacking and their attention to detail was outstanding and put us men to shame.”