A recent study shows that women’s rugby receives less funding compared to men’s rugby, and bridging this gap could reap huge benefits for women in sport and society.
The research was part of a Master’s in Arts (MA) by Kuini Vuli, a Pacific Regional Sports Research Scholarship (PRSRS) recipient, who researched the wellbeing of female rugby players and the social stigma women face in rugby in Fiji.
Vuli’s thesis is titled; ‘Pains and gains of women’s rugby: Fijian women’s experience of a male dominated sport.’
Vuli said; “the findings collaborate with the findings of previous research as well as adds onto the area of women rugby player’s negotiation of challenges in a male-dominated sport.”
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“The most vital component is that the findings of the research also extend the literature to explore the financial aspects of women playing rugby which is an area that has been largely untapped.”
Vuli further said; “the findings would lead to a lot of awareness of women in rugby situations and to women in sports in general – a relook at existing policies and how they are impacting development, and most of all, a placement of strategies at both organisational and individual player level for a secure life during and after rugby or sport.”
“Fiji ratified the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in 1995 and the research calls for equality and support for women rugby players in all aspects of the game.
“It is also important for women rugby players to have back-up plans for their future in and beyond rugby.”
Vuli stated; “If the recommendation to improve women’s conditions in rugby is applied, then both women’s rugby and women in sports in Fiji in general gains a step closer to gender equality then most countries and contributes to national efforts toward attaining the Sustainable Development Goals.”
“It would mean that the coaches, management of women’s teams, will receive the same material resources needed for high performance, the financial resource for more competitive competitions, accessibility to quality human resource and the numbers for an effective team.
“For current and future players, it means having the quality support to compete internationally, a financially secure career in rugby, family security, psychological well-being and a secure future.”
Vuli added that the platform for women’s rugby in Fiji could be the framework for all women in sports in Fiji, which could in turn generate Fiji into a flourishing sport tourism site among other impacts.