Enough? You Are All So Much Better Than That!

Enough? You Are All So Much Better Than That!

Women’s sports and the athletes who compete in them have long been a target for trolls and social media morons, they’ve borne it out with a stoicism a few o their male counterparts could learn from. Rugby sadly is no different and despite the ever-increasing profile of the women’s game 2020 has been a tough year.

First games were cancelled, leagues declared null and void. Then two historic clubs were dropped from the Premier 15s who, around the same time lost their title sponsor. To date there is still no clear roadmap for the league, or indeed any women’s rugby, in England at least, to return.

Then last week Canterbury launched the new Ireland jersey. The men’s kit was modelled by members of the Irish squad. The women’s shirt? Well, like me you might have been expecting Sene Naoupu, Anna Caplice or one of their teammates. Instead the kit was launched with models… A huge opportunity to put women in the spotlight lost.

By this point the womens rugby community had taken enough and this was not going to stand. Former Harlequin Victoria Rush (currently working as producer for a forthcoming Amazon Prime show – very cool!) and Wasps fly half Florence Williams, the founder of The Perception Agency both used their skills to highlight this discrepancy and, amplified by their teammates, colleagues, friends and supporters they took the message to Canterbury.

Yesterday the brand responded. While there was notably no apology, they acknowledged they had got it wrong and affirmed their wish to tackle the lack of profile for women in the game and give them a voice and a platform.

Of course, we will be watching to see they follow through, but arguably the biggest brand in the game just showed support to women and that feels like a genuine positive step!

The #IAmEnough campaign goes far beyond Canterbury and their shirt models, it has become a movement of solidarity, body positivity and affirmation of the game and the people who play it. Over the summer we’ve seen a number of players use their profiles to speak openly and honestly about often difficult subjects. Simi Pam, Akinà Gondwe and other players have spoken out about racial inequality and the Black Lives Matter Movement, Lyndsay O’Donnell has been open and honest about getting Covid-19 and how she dealt with it,  Abi Burton has shared a message of body positivity and a number of the England 7’s ladies have been very forthright about their situation.

The time to sit quietly and let things happen has passed, I’m making a commitment to stand up for these inspirational women and be an active ally instead of a passive supporter, it’s the least they deserve!

Check out the hashtag #IAmEnough on twitter or Instagram and show your support for these amazing women, leave a comment, share a message or simply give posts a like to boost their reach.

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Matt

Matt has been writing on all manner of subjects for over 15 years. He has written for a number of music magazines, made appearances on BBC Introducing and regularly contributed to local newspapers. These days he mostly writes about theatre, but also enjoys covering sport, especially rugby.

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