In ISB, there is a slight tone of inequality, especially in sports. One of the main sports you witness inequality in is rugby/touch rugby. Some people think that the fact that girls can only play touch rugby and boys can only play normal rugby is not fair. Panther Nation interviewed Peyton Emery (12), Helena Marlowe (11), Claire Sherwood (10), and Nora Aylward (9) about their thoughts on the topic.
“While I do think it would be nice to have the opportunity to play rugby, I am perfectly happy with playing touch rugby,” Peyton Emery replied when asked who should be able to take part in rugby and touch rugby.
“It would be nice to have the choice, but the logistics behind getting coaches and field space (in addition to the touch and rugby teams that already practice, not to mention the middle school sports that take place beforehand) pose barriers into having that choice,” she later continued.
When asked why she thought girls play touch and boys play rugby, Helena Marlowe replied with, “I have no idea why two different sports came to be. I don’t want to assume that it has to directly with gender, that the people who were making these decisions believed that rugby was too rough for girls to play.”
“I’ve lived many places and have known of rugby as a sport for more than half my life, it was not until I came here that I knew touch rugby is played at a professional level. I don’t see a rational reason for separating the sports (rugby and touch) by gender, especially when touch is not as popular or well known as contact rugby internationally. It seems odd to enforce touch as a sport on only one gender and vise versa for rugby.”
When asked if she thought that ISB’s athletics program favoured males more than females, Nora Aylward simply replied with, “yes, in some ways. The girls who play touch rugby play on the far fields even when the tackle rugby boys aren’t playing on the main field. I think the school does try and make it even, it just doesn’t always work out that way.”
Claire Sherwood was asked, if she thinks both boys and girls should have the opportunity to try out for touch rugby as well as normal rugby. She replied with, “I know a lot of girls might be intimidated by playing contact rugby so yes I think they should have a choice, same goes for boys. The boys rugby team gets a lot of injuries so I’m sure they would also enjoy having touch rugby as an opportunity. “
Helena Marlowe told Panther Nation about the possibility of creating a rugby team here at ISB. “I actually am planning to make a [rugby] “team” after 3rd season finishes. I have mentioned this to lots of girls to gage whether or not [they] are interested, and a handful of them are. I think I can start a club and have organized practice once or twice a week during the off season.”
“Rugby, like any sport teaches you about discipline and teamwork, but honestly girls should just have the option to tackle people, it is empowering and thrilling. Rugby is said to be a hooligan’s game played by gentlemen. On the pitch I didn’t feel pressure to hold myself back to change a natural part of myself to meet the expectations placed on me in every other field of life.”
“We are told to smile and be polite and not create disturbances with our opinions, to not be assertive because it’s not attractive. Playing rugby young taught me to be more bold and a little less controlled in my opinions because I learned to believe in myself. We trained with our boy counterparts and I saw myself as an equal, how was I supposed to believe they were tougher and better than me when I could make them cry. Rugby let me be more confident and I want other girls to be able to experience the same thing.”