ALDI encourages female participation in Irish rugby

ALDI Play Rugby has worked hard to encourage girls to play sport and increase female participation in rugby from a young age.

With the TikTok Women’s Six Nations kicking off on March 25th, ALDI has undertaken research into female participation in sport.

Among the survey’s findings were that nearly two thirds of women (64%) say they wish they had played more sport as a child.

Additionally, it found that over half of female respondents (52%) have never played a team sport compared to just 25% of male respondents.

Moreover, it found evidence that a lack of participation in sport in childhood carries through to adulthood with men more than twice as likely as women to be active in a team sport (33% vs. 15%). 

Linda Djougang with Ella Murphy and Nathan Young. Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

Respondents agreed that playing sports can confer huge benefits to children, both on and off the playing field. For instance, 91% of female respondents believe that sport provides a valuable social outlet for children.

Elsewhere, 89% of women surveyed think that sport provides kids with important skills that can be transferred to other areas of their lives, including school, friendships and beyond, as well as huge mental benefits.

Finally, 87% of female respondents agree that playing sports can help kids make friends. 

While attitudes around women and sport may be changing, ALDI knows that there is still considerable work to be done.

Four in five (81%) of those surveyed think that more needs to be done to get girls involved in sport from a young age.

That’s where ALDI Play Rugby comes in. Developed by the IRFU and supported by ALDI, ALDI Play Rugby is a free, supervised, and non-contact rugby programme that provides children with a fun introduction to the sport.

Schools are offered access to invaluable resources including sessions with Community Rugby Officers, online coaching resources, and free coaching equipment.

ALDI Play Rugby is playing its part when it comes to breaking barriers with girls making up 50% of the programme’s participants.

In doing so, it is helping to ensure that the next generation of girls feel empowered to stay active and involved in sports into adolescence and adulthood. 

Beibhinn Parsons with Ella Murphy and Nathan Young. Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

Speaking about ALDI Play Rugby, Linda Djougang, ALDI ambassador and Irish Rugby International, said:

As a young woman, sport has changed my life in countless ways. It has helped instill confidence, taught me leadership skills, and given me experiences I could only have ever dreamed of – including representing Ireland in the TikTok Women’s Six Nations! With the support of ALDI and Irish Rugby, I hope more girls and women are given the opportunity to play sports and experience the physical and mental benefits firsthand for themselves.”

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