08th Dec 2023

Hong Kong China Rugby (HKCR) has launched a new programme to provide women associated with rugby more opportunities to develop and hone their leadership skills.


The LIFT initiative aims to nurture a pipeline of female talent within the rugby community to take on more senior roles in teams, clubs and the HKCR. Those who finish the course will be entitled to apply for the World Rugby Executive Leadership Scholarship Programme.


The 9-12 month programme will include a range of events including panel discussions, workshops, training sessions, fireside chats and networking sessions for the inaugural cohort of 17 women.


Programme sessions will cover leadership, management, self-development, communication, personal branding, non-profit governance and the role of male allies in advancing gender equity.


The programme, launched on 1 December 2023, is being sponsored by law firm DLA Piper and supported by EY and The Women’s Foundation.


Speaking at the launch event, HKCR chairman Chris Brooke said that Women’s rugby had come along leaps and bounds in Hong Kong in recent years, with success at the elite level and also in terms of grass roots participation in the community game.


“Hong Kong China Rugby will continue to focus on Women’s rugby through the new strategy that we will shortly be rolling out, but we are also keen to pursue initiatives such as LIFT in order to develop pathways for women  to enter into leadership roles within rugby, which we know will further support the success in terms of growth and performance of the women's game” said Mr Brooke.


HKCR Director Gill Meller, who championed the programme, said research had shown that participation in sport could help women break the glass ceiling into the executive ranks.


“We are taking this a step further by ensuring that women involved in our sport, rugby, also have opportunities to learn about more than sport to help them in their careers and personal development,” said Ms Meller.


“We also hope that those who take part will use this experience to develop the skills and confidence required to take up leadership roles within our sporting community and to serve as role models for other women who may be interested in contributing to a more inclusive and balanced sporting ecosystem in Hong Kong.”