Formed 2004 ... Herts 7s U14 Runners-up 2005 ... North Herts U14 team, Herts Youth Games 2005 runners-up (coached by Letchworth)... Herts Superteams U14 Runners-up 2005 ... Herts SuperTeams "Fairplay" winners 2006 ... Rochford 10s U17 Champions 2006 ... East Midlands 10s U17 Runners-up 2007 ... East Midlands 10s U17 "Fairplay" winners 2007 ... National 10s U17 5th place and "Fairplay" winners 2007 ... Herts 7s U17 Plate runners-up 2007 ... National 7s U17 Plate winners 2007 ... RFU "President's XV" Award winners 2007 ... Herts Superteams winners 2007 ... Midlands 10s U18 Runners-up 2008 ... National 10s U18 4th place 2008 ... North Herts U11 team, Herts Youth Games 2008 runners-up (coached by Letchworth girls) ... London and SE 7s U18 Plate runners-up 2008 ... Herts 7s U18s runners-up 2008 ... National 7s U18s quarter-finalists 2008 ... Gloucester City 10s U18 Bowl runner-up (6th) 2009 ... Worthing 10s U18 Plate runner-up 2009 ... National 7s U18 Plate winners 2009... Worthing 10s U15 Plate winners 2010... Worthing 10s U18 Shield winners 2010... Herts 7s U15 and U18 Bowl runners-up 2010... National 7s U18 Plate runners-up 2010...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Proposed law could help women's sport

What goes on in Parliament may seem to be a bit distant, not to say dull, most of the time but today a new piece of proposed law - the Equality Bill - could help increase opportunities for women and girls to play sport.

Most of the Bill deals with things like equal pay and age or religious discrimination - so these will attract most of the publicity - but the Bill also creates a new Commission for Equality and Human Rights which will (apart from many other things) be able to support or even run its own activities "designed to involve members of communities" (its an odd choice of language, but girls or women are a "community" under this Bill) - and sport is definitely included. 

So in theory a programme that was (at least in part) designed to raise the number of girls playing rugby could get lots of official support, whereas something just designed to promote the game in general would get nothing. This could have a galvanising effect on the way future events like the current RFU Play On campaign are planned and designed - like including images of women in a positive, active way and not as so much set dressing. Or a guide to rugby which featured equal number of boys and girls might get funding support, but a guide featuring only boys (as most now do) would not.

In addition the Commission would be able to launch inquiries into any areas of inequality. The shockingly poor coverage of women's sport in the press and on TV would be a great candidate for such an inquiry, partly because Olympics are coming, but also because several ministers and MPs have highlighted this in recent months. Such inquiries are important - they might reveal illegal discrimination, or they might encourage changes in the law, or they might simply embarrass sports journalists by forcing them to say why they ignore women.

There are lots of ifs and buts and maybes at the moment, and any actions in these areas are months or years away (even if this becomes law the Commission probably won't start work until at least April 2010) - but if the Bill is mentioned on the news remember that what they are talking about could affect you.
  • Those of you who I hear might be interested in legal careers might like to look at the actual Bill (click here) - in which case you'll also maybe want to see the Notes on Clauses. The most relevant bits would be clauses 11 and 14-21.

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