The rugby players included in the 2014 New Years honours list has highlighted the huge inequalities womens rugby still suffers from.
In 2003, coach Clive Woodward was knighted, captain Martin Johnson was given a CBE, Jonny Wilkinson received an OBE and thirty other members of the team were given an OBE.
In 2014 Englands womens team won the Rugby World Cup, however in the end of years honours list just two members of the team are set to be receive recognition.
Whilst it is fantastic to see Sarah Hunter and Rochelle Clark receiving MBEs, it seems utterly inconceivable that after achieving the same feat as their male counterparts 11 years on, the women’s rugby team is so unrecognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.
Whilst women’s rugby may not have quite the same commercial appeal as the male equivalent, their achievement is no less significant than Martin Johnson’s sides victory in 2003. If anything it is an even more remarkable feat that deserves much greater recognition.
What many people may not realise is that the vast majority of the women’s team are not full-time professionals. They have full-time day jobs and for the most part still pay subs at their club sides where they train during the evenings and play at weekends.
They also claimed their 2014 title against the odds, claiming the title for the first time in 20 years. This was an achievement at least on a par with the mens side of 2013, yet somehow the powers that be do not feel it necessary to recognise what has been a fantastic achievement for the side.
Let’s just spell this out for a second – they are world champions, there is no higher honour in their sport, and yet for some reason they are not deemed worthy of the kind of recognition received by the mens team, or even those received by Olympic athletes two years prior.
Franky, it seems inconceivable that this kind of blatant inequality can still exist in modern sport.