The Rugby Football League (RFL) has launched a new project to encourage more primary school aged girls to take up the sport. RugBees is open to girls aged between seven and 11 and will be delivered on a weekly basis by club foundations to help them develop their confidence in areas such as catching, passing and kicking.
It’s the first Rugby League programme to be developed specifically for primary school aged girls. The Rugby League World Cup 2021 mascot, RugBee, will be utilised in the programme.
Each session will be an hour long, beginning with an introduction to the game’s technical skills and finishing with a non-contact form of the game such as Tag or Touch. Parents and guardians will be encouraged to cheer children on throughout.
The project was launched by St Helens and England star Jodie Cunningham, who is also the RFL’s National Women’s and Girl’s Development Manager.
“There is so much evidence to support that playing sport in a mixed gender setting isn’t right for all young girls and can be a barrier to participation which is why we are introducing RugBees to help tackle this,” Cunningham said.
“The sessions will give girls a fun and enjoyable environment to play Rugby League and build their confidence up to a place where hopefully they will then want to join a team and play competitively.”
RugBees was set up after a report by charity, Women in Sport, showed that girls as young as five years old don’t feel they belong in sport.
The report, called Sport, stereotypes and stolen dreams: Why girls still feel they don’t belong in sport, found that over half of parents (57%) said their daughter had felt excluded from sport, with a quarter (26%) confirming their daughter had been told ‘it wasn’t for girls’.