The Star Late Edition
More women leadership roles in SA Rugby
THE SA Rugby executive council (Exco) will no longer be an “almost exclusively male preserve” following amendments made to the governing body’s constitution to ensure that more women are represented.
SA Rugby held their annual general meeting on Tuesday, and made two constitutional amendments to boost women’s visibility in the sport.
The first will see at least three women serving on a 12-14 person Exco from 2021 to 2025, after which the number of Exco members of one gender will not exceed the number of members of the other gender by more than three.
In addition, each provincial union will have to have at least one female member among their three-person delegation that attends and votes at the General Council meetings.
The organisation has been criticised in the past, most notably by parliament’s sports portfolio committee chairperson Beauty Dlulane in 2016, when SA Rugby brought an all-male delegation to a meeting.
Later that year, chief director of sport at Stellenbosch University Ilhaam Groenewald became the first woman to be appointed to the Exco.
“This is a very significant and proud day for SA Rugby,” SA Rugby president Mark Alexander said in a statement yesterday.
“We have lagged in female representation in our game at the highest level, and this is a major step forward.
“The highest decision-making body in our sport has been an almost exclusively male preserve since it was established, and this change will ensure that those days are no more.
“With at least 14 women members among our General
Council delegates, the prospect of having a female president of the South African Rugby Union at some point in the future comes much closer.”
The current voting members on the Exco are Mary-Anne Musekiwa and Mimi Tau, and an additional woman will be added as a third voting member.
Another woman, Vanessa Noble, is part of the Exco as the company secretary, but does not have voting rights.
“Women’s rugby and its growth among South African women is one of the very highest priorities for SA Rugby, and these changes will give that drive renewed impetus I am sure,” Alexander said.
“The image of rugby as a male preserve in South Africa is breaking down.
“Our sport will be much stronger – as well as more diverse – from the decisions taken (at the AGM).”
The Springbok Women’s team,
coached by Stanley Raubenheimer, have also qualified for the Women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, which will take place in October and November next year.