- Over two fifths (41%) of Welsh parents think children have a wider choice of sports and facilities in the local community spaces and at school than they did as children
- Over one in ten (12%) of women in Wales surveyed have never played rugby but would like to give it a go
- As Founding Partner of the first women’s Lions team, Royal London is championing women’s rugby by helping to level the playing field for future generations.
45% of Welsh parents of school aged children say that children have a wider choice of sports options and facilities both at school and in the local community than they did. A similar number (41%) say that children can play any sport they want to, and 45% of parents thought children today have more access to sporting role models of all genders and sports than when they were younger.
The research, from Royal London, follows the announcement of the first ever Lions Women’s tour, set to take place in New Zealand in 2027. As Founding Partner, Royal London is committed to championing and supporting women’s rugby, and to making a difference by helping to level the playing field for this and future generations.
Only 5% of women surveyed in Wales aged 55 plus were offered the chance to play rugby at school versus 68% of men of the same age For younger people, the disparity lessens, with 35% of women 18-34 saying they had the chance to play rugby at school, compared to 53%) of men.
The decreasing gender sports gap will be welcome news for many with 12% of Welsh women who haven’t played rugby stating they would like to try. Just over one in ten (12%) of women who haven’t played rugby would like to try.
Shaunagh Brown, rugby player and ambassador for Royal London, said: “In recent years there has been a significant increase in the visibility of women in sport, across the board. Undoubtedly, we still have a lot of work to do but the Lions Women’s tour is a great example of the progress being made. Increased accessibility at grassroots level, including a practical overhaul of facilities at grounds, coupled with visible role models for women and girls to look up to will help with this. Royal London’s meaningful commitment to coach and player pathways and grassroots funding is a significant boost to increasing access and interest in the sport, helping ensure a more diverse, bigger player and coach pool ahead of 2027.
Susie Logan, Group Chief Marketing Officer at Royal London, said: “It’s positive to see access to traditionally ‘male’ sports improving for young girls. Access to rugby is improving for girls but there is more work to be done. It’s clear that there are people who would have liked the opportunity to play and didn’t get the chance.
“This is why we’re so proud to be a founding partner of the first ever Lions Women’s rugby team and investing into the rugby programmes that will turn the dial even further at a grassroots level across the UK and Ireland. We are aiming to encourage more girls to participate in rugby by presenting more opportunities for them to get involved in a sport that they might not otherwise have considered.”
The partnership will also invest in player development in each of The British & Irish Lions constituent Unions through the delivery of a special elite players’ Pathways Funding grant. The grants will support the elite women’s player and coach pathways in Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and England, to help Unions develop more players and coaches capable of being selected for the inaugural Lions Women’s Tour. In addition, Royal London will also be investing in women’s and girls’ grassroots rugby across the UK and Ireland in the run-up to the Tour.