World Rugby U20 Championship joins HeForShe

Date: Saturday, June 10, 2017

Hosted by Georgia, the World Rugby U20 Championship 2017 saw its participating teams and the World Rugby Organisation declare their support for HeForShe, the UN Women solidarity movement for gender equality.

New Zealand's rugby players talking about gender equality and empowering of girls through sports; Photo: UN Women/Maka Gogaladze
The event, which took place at the premises of the National Archives of the Ministry of Justice of Georgia, served as a venue to affirm the partnership between UN Women and World Rugby within the framework of the championship. In her welcoming speech, Erika Kvapilova, UN Women Country Representative in Georgia, thanked the Georgian Rugby Union, which was one of the first supporters of HeForShe in Georgia: “We would like to extend special thanks to them for their initiative, within the framework of which the Georgian rugby players met with 500 children in 19 villages and spoke to them about equality between girls and boys, women and men, and about the importance of non-violent behaviour. Today’s initiative is taking place under the auspices of the World Rugby U20 Championship. Thanks a lot to Tournament Director Simon Kibble and the countries participating in the championship.” Mrs. Kvapilova especially thanked the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs for their fruitful cooperation.

Campaign opening speech by Erika Kvapilova UN Women Country Representative in Georgia; Photo: UN Women/Maka Gogaladze
Davit Sergeenko, Minister of Labour, Health and Social Affairs, spoke about the significance of having tight cooperation with UN Women. He also emphasized the ongoing cooperation between UN Women and the rugby community: “Today’s event is an affirmation of this cooperation. I am happy that this partnership is truly effective and not a symbolic one.”

Gocha Svanidze, President of the Rugby Union, also addressed the guests attending the event and thanked Mrs. Kvapilova for UN Women’s trust: “We, the rugby players, are not just supporters of this campaign. It is a lifestyle that we will always have.”

On behalf of World Rugby, Tournament Director Kibble declared support for HeForShe: “Ensuring gender equality is very important. We are happy and proud to be a part of this campaign.” He then affirmed this support with his signature. Like Mr. Kibble, members of the teams participating in the championship also left their symbolic signatures on the HeForShe board.

A new social video was also screened at the event. Produced with the initiative of UN Women, it serves to promote gender equality and empower women with the support of sports.