Could Women’s Rugby Be a Key New Voice for Equality?
By Phoebe McHugh, Legends Report Contributor
In the centenary year of the establishment of the Suffragettes, we have witnessed the subject of women’s rights come to the forefront of the public consciousness- this party of brave, committed and intelligent women, who showed the world that they are capable of standing up for equality in the most hostile of environments. As a woman, I am proud to celebrate the courage of my foresisters, leading human beings in the right direction in the face of adversity.
Fast-forward a few decades and women really have made their mark on the universe (quite literally in the case of Sally Ride; the first woman to fly into space in 1983). Since the establishment of women’s suffrage, we have seen our sisters, mothers, aunts and grandmothers accomplish what was once considered inconceivable, and now have a world in which women have become leaders in every field - politicians, scientists, activists, athletes, firefighters, the list goes on.
More recently, in the arts, we have seen female filmmakers excel at the Oscars, most notably in the case of Rachael Morrison, the first ever woman to be nominated for an Oscar in Cinematography; a small, yet significant, step to greater success in recognising women for their hard work in that industry.
And of Course, We Have The Hashtag...
Worldwide social media campaigns have been a crucial platform in terms of showcasing and promoting female talent. Women are standing up, not only independently, but in solidarity, to promote strength and equality. Vogue magazine, for example, has shifted their focus from depicting skinny and ill-looking models in their cover pieces, to athletic and strong, women. Furthermore, this year at the Golden Globes a black dress code was used to symbolise solidarity between victims of sexual harassment. We also have seen the white rose worn at the Grammy Awards by the artists such as Elton John, Lady Gaga and Kelly Clarkson to advocate Time's Up and the #MeToo campaigns against sexual misconduct and gender inequality that has affected countless women, past and present.
Natalie Portman argues:
‘I think we’ve realised the scope of what we’ve lost, the creative contributions of people who’ve been pushed out of the industry.’
These are significant actions towards equality and social media is a significant platform where both celebrities and the public are able to communicate such matters and highlight these concerns with one another...
— Vogue Magazine (@voguemagazine) March 4, 2018
— Emma Watson (@EmmaWatson) January 7, 2018
i hope i live long enough to see the day when my female friends are writing #MeToo on social media to mean"i finally feel safe in the world"
— Lane Moore (@hellolanemoore) October 15, 2017
So How Can Sport Help Women Find a New Voice For Equality?
There is an area of media that is still very much focused on men and their achievements and that is sport, specifically team sports. Just walk into any pub and you will find both men and women enthralled at the latest Rugby Six Nations or Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United. Rather than criticising how team sports are over-represented and disproportionately paid towards men, women should be using this to their advantage.
The Women’s 2015 World Cup Demonstrated The Power of Women Uniting Together
Watching the Women’s World Cup Final in 2015, it was clear how much passion, drive and ambition both England and Germany gave in the game. These fundamental components are pivotal in the fight for equality. The athletes competing in the 2015 World Cup weren’t focusing on any conviction against their male counterparts earning more and receiving more promotion in the World Cup. No, they were more concerned about their own performance and how much they could give together as a team in order to win the game.
This is where change can happen. If we look at what we can achieve together, rather comparing ourselves to others, we can all look at the bigger picture. If we show our strength, our passion and our determination long enough, we can succeed. With this conversation will start flowing, people will start listening, the media will begin to find a story and change will start happening.
Women’s Rugby And The Campaign For Equality
This is an article that will hopefully also bring to light a forthcoming event. On the 10th of March – 2 days after International Women’s Day – Harlequin Ladies will be taking on Richmond FC at The Twickenham Stoop. Harlequins will be supporting the 2018 ‘Press for Progress,’ which is a movement to stand for parity and equality in the world of rugby union. In launching the ‘History in the Making’ campaign, Harlequin ladies expand and develop the elite level of women’s club rugby and stride to ensure parity across its elite playing squads. The campaign will be broadcast on the Harlequins Women’s digital channels throughout the season, which was developed in association with SMACK Digital as part of their own commitment to developing women's sport. Although this is a small step towards a great future for female team sports, it is enough to prove that as women, we are still pushing for equality wherever and whenever we can. We started 100 years ago and we are still going strong today. So, why not get involved and play your part in the movement towards equality in sport, you can find all the information about the upcoming match in the link here...