A Pioneering Event: UNFPA and Rugby United NYC

14 October 2019
Photo © UNFPA/Usenabasi Esiet
Professional and amateur rugby players scrimmage on the UN North Lawn

New York, 25 September 2019: - UNFPA together with the Permanent Mission of Japan and Rugby United NYC hosted a demonstration game to kick off the theme 'The Inclusion is Revolution: Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality through sports.' The game is part of a global series of sporting events, leading up to the Nairobi Summit, that focus on inclusivity.

Rugby United New York and UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, have entered into an ambitious new partnership to create opportunities for young people through sports-based initiatives. This collaboration embraces the theme of inclusion to equality, and will utilize sports to facilitate youth participation with a focus on gender equality. Sports not only creates more opportunities for those most marginalized on the field, but leads the way in promoting inclusion and equality across all of society. 

To kick off the partnership, Rugby United New York sponsored the rugby demonstration game at the United Nations General Assembly on the grounds of the United Nations Secretariat in New York, on 19 September. The demonstration featured professional and amateur rugby players, along with keynote speakers from Rugby United and UNFPA.

Through the Inclusion to Equality partnership, Rugby United and UNFPA hope to capitalize on the inclusive nature of team sporting activities, and use this as a force to advance equality and opportunity with a focus on overcoming gender-based barriers and stereotypes. The transformative power of sport as an agent of social change can help young people understand their rights and inspire them to fight stigma and discrimination to ensure that the next generation of girls and young people grow up knowing that they can excel at the highest levels. Through their positive experiences with sport organizations, they can develop the confidence and skills to level the playing field. 

Stigma and taboos, particularly ones that hinder girls and women, can deter them from taking part in school or sports activities. This puts them at a distinct disadvantage. The Inclusion to Equality partnership is seen as a platform from which Rugby United and UNFPA can expand sports-based initiatives, including other partners, to grow into a global movement, and inspire young people around the world to reach their full potential.