The Leinster Rugby Inclusivity Committee Virtual Roadshows took place over four nights in February with the theme of the roadshows being Inclusivity in Rugby a Guide to Activation and Governance.

The aim of this work by the committee is to assist clubs in realising the full potential of all resources available to them in their communities and the benefits that can be reaped from increased diversity and inclusion in and about a club’s governance structures.

Sport Ireland has identified Leadership and Governance as one of the four key strategic areas on which its Policy on Women in Sport is built.

In turn, Sport Ireland has identified as its key objectives in the area of Leadership and Governance the progress towards greater gender balance in board membership of funded bodies and pathways for women aspiring to become leaders of funded bodies.

In addition, and on foot of an independent-led governance review, World Rugby has recently published seven recommendations which will underpin meaningful reform in the area of governance.

One of these seven recommendations is a target of at least 40 per cent female representation on committees with the promotion of women leaders in the sport.

The Roadshows were presented by Moira Flahive and Lorna Quinn, the chair and honorary secretary of the Inclusivity Committee respectively.

Lorna Quinn, Honorary Secretary said, “I think what struck me most was the huge interest from clubs in wanting to be more inclusive. The fact we saw, for the most part, the decision makers in clubs attending our roadshows, which to me shows true intent for change. This was reflected in the attendance over the four sessions where 61 clubs in Leinster registered to attend the roadshows with an average of 40 attendees per session.

“The feedback was so positive; it really makes me excited to see what the next few years holds for women in rugby.”

Moira Flahive, Chairperson added, “On behalf of the Inclusivity Committee of Leinster Rugby I was delighted to see the huge number of clubs and members of other Committees in the Branch attend the recent Inclusivity in Rugby a Guide to Activation and Governance Roadshows as presented by the Inclusivity Committee of Leinster Rugby.

“These presentations were the result of true teamwork, an essential in rugby. All clubs are now being asked to examine how they might endeavour to increase the inclusivity and diversity in or about the structure and running of their organisation. I hope that the extensive content of the roadshows will prove to be of real and practical benefit in these endeavours.”

“I thoroughly enjoyed presenting the recent roadshows along with Lorna. The attendance each evening was hugely rewarding to see. The work of the sub-committee (Sarah Bean, Ali Nolan and Rachael O’Brien) in putting together the content and the Inclusivity Committee in settling same at various stages along the way was properly acknowledged in this attendance and the positive feedback that we have received since.”

“I am delighted to have received such positive feedback. As we stated in the course of the roadshows, we are finalising a toolkit with various templates as a resource to clubs. We would welcome any further feedback and comments which might inform the content of these resources. The Inclusivity Committee will also be finalising the content to be found on the Leinster Rugby website where the toolkit will, amongst other items, be available. This content will be evolving in tandem with the work of the Inclusivity Committee and with relevant developments in the area of inclusivity and diversity in the sport of rugby in the Province and beyond.”

John Walsh, President of the Leinster Branch said, “The positive engagement that we got from so many clubs and club administrators was tremendous and will undoubtedly lead to the further development of the game for all in our communities.”

Thank you to all the clubs and representatives who took the time to attend the roadshows, their insights on the night and input going forward are invaluable to the Inclusivity Committee and the game in our province.

For more information on the inclusivity committee, click here.

Leinster Rugby Inclusivity Committee: Moira Flahive – Chairperson, Lorna Quinn – Hon Secretary – Leinster Women’s Team Manager, Debbie Carty – Senior Vice President, Leinster Branch, Rachael O’Brien – Women’s Committee, Cathy Bryce – Independent, Sarah Bean – Independent, Grainne Carroll – Youths Rugby, Adam Malin – Schools Rugby, Ciaran O’Brien – Referees, Enda Finn – North Midlands Area, Lorcan Kirk – North East Area, Ali Nolan – Metro Area, Cora Browne – South East Area, Michael Lambe – Midlands Area, Jacinta O’ Rourke – Senior Clubs, Trevor Merry – Senior Clubs.