June 29, 2020 – Rugby Americas North (RAN) is delighted to announce that this August they will be hosting their first-ever women’s online forum with weekly presentations to highlight opportunities for learning and growth within the region specifically for women in rugby.


“Women’s rugby, both on and off the pitch, is a strategic priority for World Rugby, the regions and member unions,” said Jennifer Gray, World Rugby Rugby Services Manager for RAN.

To be hosted free-of-charge on Zoom, the weekly webinars feature a sublime list of presenters from throughout Canada, USA, Mexico and the Caribbean with extensive rugby resumes – from the pitch to the boardroom.

“The online format allows for an in-depth look at a variety of topics over the four weeks designed to allow participants to takeaway implementable ideas for their unions with the aim of achieving strategic priorities for World Rugby, the region and member unions,” added Gray.

The forum topics were developed by RAN’s Women in Leadership Directive (WiLD) recipients from World Rugby’s scholarship program, which was created in 2018 as part of their wider strategy to accelerate the global development of women in rugby in leadership positions.

“It is exciting to see the RAN Women in Leadership Directive develop forum topics for RAN Member Unions to highlight the opportunities for learning and growth within the region, while sharing their knowledge and experiences in the game of rugby,” said Gray.

Topics will focus on challenges that are commonly faced within the region, and will present information and actions that can be taken, while allowing for discussions and questions.

Presentation #1 – Player Welfare for Women in Rugby
August 5th at 7pm ET/4pm PT

Dr. Dalia Jordan Brown (Trinidad & Tobago)
Isabel Grondin (Canada/World Rugby)
Dr. Araba Chintoh (Canada)

Let’s explore and discuss appropriate player welfare as it relates specifically to the needs of females in rugby. This session will cover player welfare around injuries more prevalent for females, ensuring adequate care in women’s rugby, and specifically discuss player welfare for women’s domestic competitions.

Presentation #2 – Breaking the Glass Ceiling in Rugby
August 12th at 7pm ET/4pm PT

Cristina Flores (Mexico/World Rugby Council)
Keisha-Ann Down (Jamaica)

There are many barriers that females face in sports, many of which are still invisible such as gender bias and discrimination. The first step to eradicating these barriers is to bring them to light – start talking about them and addressing them. This session will share stories of success that highlight how other women overcame specific challenges to create a better experience in rugby and sport. This session will highlight female role models in rugby leadership that will help others tear down the barriers they face in their own communities.

Presentation #3 – The Road to 15s: Creating a More Inclusive Game
August 19th at 7pm ET/4pm PT

Jenn Heinrich (USA)
Alejandra Betancur (Colombia/World Rugby Council)

Within North America many countries do not participate in 15s rugby for women, both domestically and internationally. This presentation will share best practices from other Unions in North America that will provide tools and creative approaches to work towards building the 15s game in their communities.

Presentation #4 – Recruiting and Retaining Female Coaches and Referees
August 26th at 7pm ET/4pm PT

Tamara Dixon (Jamaica)
Erin Kennedy (RAN)

Data confirms that the participation of female coaches and referees in high-performance programs is almost non-existent, and participation in other levels of the game are significantly lower than their male counterparts. This session will aim to address specific reasons for females not taking on coaching and refereeing roles across all stages and focus on positive solutions to better recruit and retain females for these roles. This session will also utilize the World Rugby Tool Kit and other best practices from the region.

The Zoom links for all four presentations will be made available closer to the event; please follow RAN on social media for details.