International Women’s Day is a global day, dedicated to celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world. For International Women’s Day and beyond, let’s all fully #EmbraceEquity.
Here at the Leeds Rhinos Foundation, we are proud to support International Women’s Day with the work we do in supporting the physical and mental wellbeing of women and girls throughout the city of Leeds. This includes providing opportunities and pathways for aspiring players to begin their Rugby League journey.
We have a long and proud history of supporting equality, diversity and inclusion in our communities through our extensive range of programmes and initiatives, which continue to grow from strength to strength. In doing this, we aim to make a positive impact on our next generation of female athletes and leaders. Read on to find out how we are achieving this amongst our community and throughout the club.
Girls Rhinos Talent Pathway
During February Half Term, over 130 girls from under 10s to under 16s joined us for our Talent Pathway Sessions at the Bartercard Training Complex. This outstanding attendance reflects the progression of the women’s game.
These sessions are hosted by the Rhinos Women Head Coach, Lois Forsell, who is a prime example of someone who with determination and opportunities provided by her community club, is now able to inspire the younger generation through her own experiences. Lois is helping to cultivate future stars of the Women’s Super League by providing access to the highest standard of training facilities and coaching through her work with the Foundation. Joining us at this session were first team players: Caitlin Beevers, Georgia Roche, Keara Bennett, Caitlin Casey and new recruit for the Foundation, Georgia Hale, who came along to inspire and coach the girls who attended.
Through holding these sessions, we are encouraging young, aspiring, female rugby players to develop their skills in a fun and safe environment, whilst learning from those who they look up to.
The next sessions will take place over the Easter Holidays in the form of Development Days for U10s – U16s. These days are open access and provide player development activity for young players throughout the city. Please find below the key dates and links for registration.
Thursday 6th April – U10’s – U12s 3-4.30pm
Thursday 13th April – U13s-U14s 1-2.30pm
Thursday 13th April – U15s-U16s 3-4.30pm
Girls Development Academy
In 2021, we proudly launched our first ever Leeds Rhinos Girls Development Academy team in partnership with Leeds City College. Our Development Academy provides the opportunity for students to train, play and study full time at Leeds City College, whilst representing Leeds Rhinos at a post-16 level.
Since the girl’s academy was launched, the team have taken the College Rugby League game by storm, losing just one of their fixtures.
The team is coached by Lois Forsell, who through College Open Days, is encouraging school leavers who want to take up rugby alongside their studies, to join her and the team for the next academic year. The last open day proved very successful, with over 20 girls turning up to find out more about this dual-pathway programme.
For more information on how to get involved with our Leeds Rhinos Girls Development Academy and the opportunities available, please CLICK HERE.
High School Competitions
Since the start of this academic year we have engaged a total of 363 girls in high school competitions throughout the city of Leeds from years 7 to 11. These competitions play a huge role in encouraging young players to register with their local community clubs and continue representing their schools throughout their high school studies.
This year we will continue to run our schedule of taster sessions in partnership with our Ambassador Community Clubs. These free sessions are run with the aim of introducing young players to the world of rugby league in a fun, friendly and safe environment.
Many young girls were inspired by last year’s World Cup and the exposure that this brought for the women’s game. As a result of this, we have seen a rise in the number of girls wanting to give the sport a go. Our taster sessions are vital in inviting these girls to their local community clubs and encouraging them to train and play on a weekly basis.
February saw our first session take place at Stanningley, which resulted in 5 new players being signposted to the club. For the details of our next sessions, please see below:
Tuesday 28th March
Guiseley Rangers u12s Girls
School Year 6/7
Nunroyd Park, Guiseley
Thursday 30th March
Farnley Falcons u11s Girls
School Year 5/6
Farnley Sports Playing Field
For more information regarding these sessions or to book your child’s place, please contact email@example.com or call 07375653124.
Want to get involved in women and girl’s rugby league? CLICK HERE to view our helpful guide of local clubs who are running Women & Girls’ teams this year.
Lois Forsell, Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s Women and Girls Development Officer said: “Every year, the Leeds Rhinos Foundation are increasing the number of opportunities for girls to access our sport. We aim to have more women and girls playing more often in environments and formats which are adaptable to encourage participation. We want to create a sense of belonging for all, which includes respecting feelings and needs, being valued for who you are and a feeling of supportive energy and commitment. In doing the above, by 2027 we hope for a 10% growth year on year in the number of registered girls playing rugby league.
“Today, as well as every other day, we want to celebrate all of the women and girls across the Leeds Rhinos Foundation teams and projects.”
Leeds Rhinos Foundation offer a wide range of dance opportunities throughout the year from regular junior classes in cheer and street dance with the Rhinestones Dance Academy, to holiday camps and in-school dance sessions.
Our Rhinestones Dance Academy has over 100 girls registered and engaging in the classes on a weekly basis, and in the first Rhinos home game of the season the team performed on the at Headingley Stadium. CLICK HERE to see a full photo gallery.
If you or someone you know would like to be part of our dance academy, CLICK HERE.
At Leeds Rhinos Foundation, we are proud to be a part of the Community Integrated Learning Disability Super League and through our own Leeds Rhinos LDSL team we can offer a place where both men and women with learning disabilities can come and enjoy rugby while developing both physically and socially.
This inclusive form of the game provides unique opportunities and lifelong memories for the players, as well as a chance to make lots of new friends and enjoy living out their sporting dreams while representing their favourite Super League club.
We are also proud to have a Wheelchair team who compete in the Betfred Wheelchair Super League. The Wheelchair game is an inclusive sport, with both men and women competing alongside one another. Welsh international and Rhinos player Jodie Boyd-Ward is one of the players leading the way for females in the sport and helping to inspire a new generation of players to get involved in Wheelchair Rugby.