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Mailbox: Once Again Women’s Sport Is Tossed To The Side

The Her Sport mailbox gives our readers a voice to share their opinions. This week we received a mail from a member of our community wanted to have their say on the Six Nation’s decision to cancel the remaining women’s games. If you want to share your story or opinion please send us a mail at mailbox@hersport.ie.

I am fuming.

Once again women’s sport is tossed to the side and nothing is said about it. The funny thing is, I’m not even a female – it doesn’t really affect me, and it never has. But if I don’t speak and say anything, I am complicit, and this crap needs to change.

Yesterday, it was announced that the Women’s Six Nations was officially cancelled. The organisers put it down to ‘Government and Health Authority restrictions’ as well as the ‘inability to stage matches due to the sport’s amateur status.’ 

If you ask me, that is a load of nonsense.

Once again, they take the easy way out. Do you think for a second if this were the Men’s Six Nations would they do the same thing? Even IF the remaining games were dead rubber – there is no way they would not find a way to play those matches. Just look at the weekend schedule; Ireland are playing Wales in a FRIENDLY.

I guess I must have missed the memo where the virus only effects women?

Don’t get me wrong – I’m delighted there is sport on TV to watch. I am delighted the men are getting to play. The issue here is the fact that once again the opportunity is not the same. Why is it always one over the other?

The Six Nations is one of, if not THE most lucrative rugby tournament in the world. Obviously, the pandemic has had a devasting effect but if you are telling me that they could not come with an innovative solution to get these games played, something is severely wrong. It wouldn’t cost that much and if they wanted to, the Six Nations has plenty of pull. If they wanted it to go ahead, it would have gone ahead.

Just look at the GAA. The same applies there. Or even last week – Peamount United played Glasgow City in the UEFA Women’s Champions League. None of those players are professional so what is the difference?

While I’m at it, let’s get to this professional point. Currently only England and some of France’s rugby players are professional. Let’s be honest – this whole rhetoric of women’s sport not being good enough is largely down to that. Mind you the majority of people who claim that have never actually watched women’s sport but again, that’s beside the point.

The solution here is to actually facilitate and fund the women’s game and make it professional. You can’t say that the standard isn’t good enough if you’re not going to give it the same coverage, backing and support.

Just take a quick look at the IRFU’s Instagram account. First of all, kudos to them for keeping the Instagram account joint for both the men and women. That’s where the praise stops sadly.  I counted out of the last 123 posts – 16 of them were about the women rugby team. That is 13%. How do you expect these players to have the slightest of chance to go professional if your own sporting body does not promote you? As an outsider, why would I watch a team I know nothing about? That contributes to viewing figures which in turn is the same stick women’s sport is beaten with.

The IRFU and Canterbury were caught with their pants down earlier this year when they used models instead of players to promote the new Irish women’s rugby jersey. They then acknowledged their mistake and had a snazzy campaign revealing the jersey – this time WITH players. But so often as is the case, it all seems to be for show and then when things actually need to be done, everyone goes into hiding.

This sort of nonsense needs to change. Stop with the lip service and actually implement change.

IRFU Instagram
Irish Rugby's Instagram account.

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