The ARU joined other major sporting organisations in signing Our Watch’s Leadership Statement on Friday, to make a commitment towards gender equality.
Our Watch is an organisation that helps to combat domestic violence and ARU CEO Bill Pulver said the national body, along with co-signers the AFL, NRL and Netball Australia were in a rare position to create change.
“We all have a role to play in ending violence against women and their children in this country, and as a national sporting community we are in a unique position to impact change,” he said.
“It’s important that rugby uses its influence to advocate for equality, respect and non-violence on and off the field.
“Australian Rugby, the NRL, AFL and Netball Australia have a huge collective reach, and all of us here today are advocating for greater female participation in sport, from the grassroots level to the boardroom. We are also committed to ensuring our policies and practices internally and externally are based on equality.
Pulver praised the female role models rugby already has, including the World Series-winning women’s sevens.
“This year, our women’s Sevens Rugby team won a World Championship, becoming the first Australian team – in men’s or women’s sevens rugby – to do so. In doing so, they blazed a trail for thousands of other girls and women across Australia,” he said.
“Our Wallaroos have also recently secured their first-ever sponsorship agreement and double-header Test before a Wallabies game.”
“These women, as role models for thousands of females across the country, represent the future of equality and diversity in Rugby, and in Australian sport.
Women’s development sevens player Laura Waldie said the side took its rolemodel status seriously.
“Domestic violence is a really important issue, and I’m so glad these four sports have banded together to try and make a positive change.”
“As a team, we try and be role models to show young girls that they can play rugby too, so we’re helping break down rugby’s male-dominated image.”
Pulver said education of boys and men was just as important in this spectrum as embracing women in a ll sectors of rugby..
“We will continue to wholeheartedly support all females in the rugby community, to ensure our sport promotes gender equality.
“And at the same time, while supporting our females in rugby we will also support and educate our boys and men in the rugby community to ensure their behaviours and decisions are underpinned by respect.”