Equal Play: SRU continues to break new ground for gender equality in sport
SRU elects first woman to vice-presidency and signs full-time professional
The Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) has moved this season to increase their involvement in women’s rugby and transition from what has traditionally been a male dominated sport.
At its August 2016 Annual General Meeting (AGM), the SRU became the first national rugby union in the world to appoint a women to an executive position.
Dee Bradbury was voted by member clubs to become the first female vice-president in the SRU’s 153 year history.
The historic vote means Bradbury will become the first female vice-president of a Tier 1 rugby nation and the first senior executive across all major sport in Scotland.
Once she has completed her two-year apprenticeship as vice-president, a two-year presidency term will follow. She will take office for the 2018/19 season when current president, Rob Flockhart, steps down.
Bradbury, who is currently president of the Oban Lorne Rugby Club and mother of current Edinburgh and Scotland star Magnus, won the vice-presidential vote by such an overwhelming margin the AGM did not have to confirm her with a second ballot.
“I am proud to be the first female vice-president of Scottish Rugby,” said Bradbury at the time of her appointment. “I did not undertake this role to be a broad feminist gesture, purely that I thought I had qualities to bring to this role.
She added: “Since the women’s and men’s unions integrated in 2009, it has become clear to me that Scottish rugby is one of the most fully-integrated and welcoming sports for women. Women’s rugby is one of the fastest growing sports in the world and I would encourage more women to take up leadership and governance roles to ensure women and girls are fairly represented across all levels of our sport.”
Following the historic vice-presidential election, the SRU also signed Jade Konkel as their first full-time female rugby player for the 2016/17 season.
Konkel is involved full-time at the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy and has become one of the stand-out players for the Women’s National team, who ended their seven-year search for a victory in the RBS Six Nations this season with a 15-14 win over Wales.
Konkel said: “It has been a massive opportunity for me personally but equally as important it gives young girls something to aspire to, and who knows how many women will be playing rugby professionally by the time they reach my age.
“Rugby has given me so much and I would encourage women, and girls, to give it a go as it’s a great social sport for all shapes and sizes,” she added.
In addition to the ground-breaking moves the SRU have made in the boardroom and on the field, the governing body has also signed the Scottish LGBT Sports Charter ahead of the 2016/17 season. Launched by Equality Network, the charter includes five core principles which aim to remove the barriers to sport for the LGBT community and tackle discrimination across the sport.
Featured Image by Les Amis du Stade Francais Paris/ Creative Commons Licence