World Rugby Launches Women Coaching Toolkit To Recruit And Retain More Female Coaches


World Rugby today launched a new, online Women Coaching Rugby Toolkit, developed by World Rugby to assist unions and regional associations in recruiting, developing and retaining more female rugby coaches at every level of the game.

Women Coaching Rugby Toolkit is available for free download here.

As part of World Rugby’s ambitious and transformational strategic women’s plan to accelerate the global development of women in rugby 2017-25, a core pillar is to develop inspirational leadership on and off the field, including the areas of coaching and refereeing.

In 2018, World Rugby undertook a review of the status of women in high-performance coaching, led by World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee Carol Isherwood, with the report finding many of the challenges and barriers influencing a lack of women in high performance coaching positions are complex and interlinked, requiring integrated and holistic solutions. 

The World Rugby Women Coaching Rugby Toolkit is designed to create a robust framework and pathway for unions and regional associations to address challenges and barriers in four core areas:

  • Planning: Developing a plan to increase the quantity and quality of female rugby coaches through workforce audits, mapping out future state, gap analysis and monitoring and evaluation
  • Recruitment: Understanding motivations and complex value systems, promoting coaching to women and open, transparent requirement processes
  • Development: Providing and promoting support networks, education and review of organisational culture that values women in the workforce
  • Retention: Support, connection and recognition strategies to engage and excite women 

While the toolkit is aimed at increasing the number of female rugby coaches, the information and tactics can equally be applied to generic coach and workforce development across the game at every level. 

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “Women currently makes up 25 per cent of the rugby playing population and so should be represented in all areas of the game worldwide. We understand that, at present, there are disproportionate levels of women in coaching and we are committed to making changes in this important area, working with our member unions to increase diversity in coaching at all levels globally.”

World Rugby Women’s Advisory Committee Chairman Serge Simon said: “The new World Rugby Women Coaching Rugby Toolkit is a practical, multi-language resource which identifies barriers and challenges faced by women around recruitment and retention in coaching and sets out a clear roadmap for member unions to assist them in delivering increased diversity among coaches across all levels of the game.”

World Rugby General Manager of Women’s Rugby Katie Sadleir said: “The development of the toolkit was one of the key recommendations in the 2018 Women in High-Performance Coaching report, led by World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee Carol Isherwood, with its purpose to assist unions in creating more global diversity in coaching teams and increase the number of women coaching rugby at the elite level. 

“However, the toolkit can also act as a ‘cultural change kit’ to create pathways for unions to start understanding their organisational unconscious bias and the steps necessary to make constructive change. The interventions, approaches and innovative ways of working can be applied to the whole game.” 

The new World Rugby Women Coaching Rugby Toolkit is an adaptation of the UK Coaching SCORE toolkit, developed with support from the European Union and Erasmus Foundation.