Break the Bias | International Women's Day

Break the Bias | International Women's Day

Today Scottish Rugby marks International Women’s Day, a day dedicated to celebrating women around the world, by sharing stories from the community game in Scotland.

Rugby is one of the fastest-growing team sports in the world for women and girls; whether you’re tall or short, powerful or fast, no matter what age – rugby is a game for everyone.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is ‘Break the Bias’.

This theme is all about taking steps towards creating a world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated.

Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.

Hear from leaders across the game around Scotland to find about how their roles break down barriers, misconceptions and bias in the sport.

​Nikki Simpson, Garioch RFC

Nikki Simpson (23), was appointed as Garioch’s Development Officer just six months ago, and she is using this new role to provide greater access to the sport for young girls in the north-east of Scotland, and show both women and girls that everybody belongs in rugby.

“I want to show young girls that in rugby you can be whoever you want to be,” said Nikki.

“I gave myself a really hard time when I was younger about how I looked. Looking back now at photos, I realise it was ridiculous, but I wish I had the mentality I have now back then – that actually, going to the gym is cool, and that being strong and having muscles doesn’t change me as a woman.

“Equally, playing rugby doesn’t mean you have to be big or muscly. Some of the best tacklers I know are petite. It’s a game for all shapes and sizes. You don’t have to fit in to a specific category to play the game, and you definitely don’t have to compromise your feminine side either.

“I really hope that I can get across to all the young people I work with in my new role that there’s no such thing as being too big or too small, or not fit enough or too old because doesn’t matter in rugby!”

​Laura Luedke, St Paul’s High School

Just four years after starting as a Physical Education teacher at St Paul’s High School in Glasgow, Laura has been an instrumental leader in developing the school’s rugby programme.

Laura is determined to be a strong female-role model to break down barrier for other girls in the sport.

“There are still a number of barriers for women and girls in sport, both real and perceived,” said Laura.

“I think one way we can overcome these barriers is by having a female role model or coach. I believe it is important for girls as they can better relate to and learn from other women and girls allows them, allowing them to grow in confidence competing in sport."

“As the leader of the rugby programme in St Paul's, I hope it highlights to our girls that sport is not gender specific and that everyone is welcome in sport so that they continue to play into their adult life."

C​iera Campbell, Strathendrick RFC Head Coach

It’s not often you hear and see Women stepping into the forefront as a Men’s Head Coach, but when Ciera Campbell was offered the role at Strathendrick RFC, she knew this was an excellent opportunity to put her skills and qualifications into action, and break the bias!

Ciera’s rugby journey began at Balfron High School where she first started playing the sport before becoming a Modern Apprentice (MA) rugby coach for the school in 2015.

Following her year-long MA, Ciera then took up a role as a Community Coach working in conjunction with Active Stirling and Strathendrick to coach children in primary schools across Central Scotland.

Ciera’s new role as the Men’s Head Coach came about when she was approached by the team captain, who she has previously coached at U18 level.

“I got the phone call from the captain inviting me to consider taking on the role. The team felt I’d be a good fit because I’ve already coached a number of their players and I’m always around the club, so I have good relationships with them. I thought it was a really great opportunity and jumped at it.

“I’ve largely always coached boys but I was definitely nervous about coming into this role. I was thinking to myself ‘Would a men’s team want a woman as their coach?’ because there is still a preconceived notion that rugby is a man’s sport, but everyone has been really supportive and the team are fantastic to work with.

“I think that’s maybe why you don’t see as many female coaches taking on roles for boys’ or men’s teams, but women are capable of being every bit as good as men at coaching, I think it’s just about having confidence.”

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