The following Article About ‘women’s Rugby in Pakistan’ has been kindly submitted by Pakistan Rugby Union
Historically, women have often been viewed as inferior to men with respect to physical prowess and athletic ability. Women of Pakistan are well aware of the importance and value of sports and their interest is increasing day by day.
However, the participation of /Girls / Women in Rugby challenges the gender stereotypes and discrimination, and can, therefore, be a vehicle for the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of Girls/Women.
Women have started to form teams to encourage other women to show their skills and talent in the realm of Rugby. Pakistani women have formed many teams and hope that with encouragement and exposure, they too can be seen as potential Rugby Player on a higher level. Women’s participation in Rugby can make a significant contribution to public life and societal development.
The promotion of Girls/Women Rugby will give our Girls/Women strength to show their hidden abilities in front of the world.
It has never been easy for Pakistani Girls/Women, who play sports yet they are sweating it out and making a lot of efforts. Pakistani Girls/Women in sports marked history.
Pakistan avows numerous success stories when it comes to women in sports. The women of our country are not only participating in athletics, but also achieving many impressive milestones and defying social expectations.
The talented beauty of our country is undeniable. The passion of sports in Pakistani women is no lesser than men.
A significant achievement of Pakistan in this particular game was topping the World Rugby’s “Get into Rugby” (GIR) Programme, as PRU not only introduced this game to far–flanged areas of the country but involved a greatest number of youngsters into this beautiful game, to make them healthy and active.
Female participation of 20496 (2016) and 28743 (2017) is a testament to the interest that the GIR program has generated amongst the Girls/Women in Pakistan.
The Asia Rugby Impact Beyond 2019 Program with its flagship A1M project has catalyzed Pakistan Rugby Union’s effort which has created a clear pathway for Girls/Women to progress in Rugby through age grade and senior Competitions, Coaches & Referees training.
The inclusion of Women Rugby in the National Games and Participation of the Women 7’s team in the Asia Rugby Development Championship have duly supported the popularity of the Sport amongst Women.
But tackling expectations around heterosexual femininity remains an unconquered territory. An increasing number of Girls/Women are now venturing into a field that is still understood to require qualities traditionally associated with men – speed, strength, aggression and a competitive streak.
So while Girls/Women must display all those traits on the field, many are expected to smoothly fit into a mould created around ‘appropriately feminine’ behaviour when they step off the field. Being on the field in a competitive environment demands more than just skills; presence of mind, focus and vigour are essential too. The jump from playing domestically to facing international teams brings an increased amount of pressure.
Pakistan is a sports-loving country and nation which has great honor of ruling different games like hockey and squash for decades. Rugby, however, was unknown game for Pakistanis, but thanks to Pakistan Rugby Union, which sincere and all-out efforts helped in developing and promoting this game in the country rapidly.
Women in the entire world are always found complaining against the male-dominated societies and world. Same is the case in Pakistan, where women are found fighting against male-dominant society to get their due rights. But PRU has created history by providing equal chances to Pakistan women, which men have been enjoying in this game.
In a country of more than 200 million people, where women are believed to be half of the population, only men’s cricket gets recognition. Cultural barriers make it difficult for sportswomen to get due encouragement to take up either team or individual sport especially contact sports like rugby.
When last year Pakistan tried to form its women’s team, Pakistan rugby officials encouraged school teachers and students, and they received a good response.
The women’s rugby team in Pakistan was formed with the help of many schools and students. The officials from Pakistan rugby had contacted different schools and universities for interested individuals and they received a great response. In a country, where the men’s cricket team is the only team that gets the most response, this was an amazing feat.
Pakistan women team taking part in an international event will help shape the society for the better. They all are there as an inspiration for the rest of the women of Pakistan. The Pakistan Rugby Union is now trying its best to make women rugby part of the culture in Pakistan.
They have now signed multiple contracts with different departments like Police, army, Wapda and various schools and universities to train about 10,000 more girls till 2019.
The women team was provided the best facilities, coaching and training at the Pakistan Rugby Academy outside Askari 10, Lahore, where they trained well for the Asian Rugby Sevens Trophy. Pakistan women rugby players were very excited to vie against top teams of Asia like India, Laos, Malaysia, South Korea, Philippines and Nepal. They fought well and exhibited their prowess in the best possible fashion.
They had passion, hunger and talent but they lack skills, which they can attain by playing against top teams of Asia and world and by getting maximum international exposure.
After participating in their first ever international rugby event, the players believe that the experience has been a life-changing one, not only for team but also for the entire female population in Pakistan, who can now pursue rugby professionally.
It was a great achievement for the team to participate in a big tournament, while winning a match against Nepal 17-7 on their debut was a cherry on the top.
It was a great experience for the women rugby players of the country, who still have a long way to go. Despite being the inexperienced team, they succeeded in exhibiting their fighting skills and also managed to register a victory.
For Pakistan women, choosing rugby as a career was not easy as most people would discourage the thought. However, after the first tournament, the reactions have begun to change in the Asian perspective with regular competitions (Domestic & International) at age grade and senior levels competed with proper Coaching, Match Officiating support and infrastructure (training grounds/equipment) will help to create proper pathways for the Women to progress in the Sport.