Today is International Women's Day.
Here in the United States of America, we have had the luxury of the right to vote for 95 years now. This however is still not the case world wide. Women have less access to education, lower paying jobs, and in sports little to no exposure as an athlete or a spectator. Women's rugby is a fast growing sport in the United States, and all over the world. It is an empowering sport for women, and countries who want to be a part of the 2016 Olympics with team in the sport, have knowing it or not, given women a chance to break gender barriers as well as boost confidence in a new generation.
Women's rugby has been played for a century, but they didn't get their first International Fixture until 1982. Since then though not only New Zealand, America, Canada, England, Ireland, and some international rugby staples have had teams emerge. Kazakhastan, Dubai, China, and many other nations where culturally women are not seen as equal to men, have teams that are internationally playing a sport that is full contact.
We have Sisters in Sports and Her Rugby Counts helping to make sure young women feel encouraged and empowered to play rugby. We saw how the country reacted to Georgia Page after she busted her nose and kept playing in here sevens match. That reaction was a total delay however, since the women's games weren't given as much air time as the men's games. What does rugby teach young girls?
It teaches them they CAN do whatever boy can do, and sometime even better. Playing Co-Ed summer 7s for practice, or scrimmaging with guys teams, taught me new skills and that yeah, I can handle myself in this situation. I also felt more empowered. The culture of rugby, which I have discussed many times is just one where everyone is made to feel welcome. Doesn't matter your size, or height or ethnicity, everyone has a place in the sport. Women who play sports are more confidant, healthier, and mentally healthier as well have an outlet to get out anger. The USA Women's Eagles are also in the top 6 teams internationally . So as we progress as a sisterhood, and advance in rights, and equality, I know that rugby is one more thing empowering young women, to break some of the rules of "what makes you a woman" and letting them know strong is beautiful.