The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has launched a Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group, chaired by former England and Harlequins star, Ugo Monye, alongside vice-chair and current Wasps Ladies Director of Rugby, Giselle Mather.
The organisation stated that it formed the group to support its goal of ensuring that the sport reflects the diversity that can be found in society.
It will be the responsibility of the group to provide insights to help shape the future plans and challenge the RFU on its progress in delivering on its diversity and inclusion goals. Members of the group include, Fearless Women CEO and Women’s Sport Trust Trustee, Sue Anstiss; former England Sevens player, England Women Sevens Head Coach and current RPA D&I advisor, James Bailey; Apple veteran and former executive sponsor for the brand’s D&I programme Black At Apple, Nigel Boatswain; London Scottish Board and Executive Committee member, Josh Brekenfeld; former England captain and Rugby World Cup winner Gill Burns; and player and Chairwoman, Richmond Women, Laura Kapo.
The RFU has researched into the actions it needs to implement to improve diversity and inclusion across the game, which will hit four key areas, which are fans, followers and partners; gameplay; employees and board; and game leadership.
The governing body has said that its goals include, but aren’t limited to, growing fans and followers in under-represented groups to ‘40 per cent female interest share, 6 per cent ethnically diverse communities interest share, 37 per cent lower socio-economic group interest share by 2025 (compared to 29 per cent, 4 per cent and 33 per cent currently)’; increasing its base of female players from the current level of 40k to 60k, and of players from lower socio-economic groups from 153k to 170k by 2025.
It also aiming to change its Board composition to be 15 per cent from ethnically diverse communities by 2022 and 30 per cent women/non-binary by 2022, with 50 per cent of its Executive and Leadership Team and 50 per cent of workforce to be from underrepresented groups by 2025 (currently 46 per cent and 41 per cent respectively).
“The RFU has made diversity and inclusion a core priority with clear plans being worked on that should make a substantive difference to the game,” said Monye.
“It’s really important that we get this right so that anyone, from anywhere, feels rugby is a game for them. There is a wealth of experience in the advisory group and we’re all pleased to be able to contribute in driving an important agenda within the sport.”
Bill Sweeney, CEO of the RFU, added: “To be able to draw on the wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise in this group will be invaluable to us as we embark on plans to increase diversity in our sport and ensure it is open and inclusive to all. Consulting with others outside our organisation will provide us with different perspectives and help us to ensure that our plans are robust, meaningful, and result in tangible action.”
Author: Jake Wilkin