Deborah Griffen is set to make history in 2025 by becoming the Rugby Football Union (RFU) first-ever female president.
Griffin’s landmark appointment in 2025 will hopefully pave the way for the growth of women’s rugby and encourage additional females globally to participate.
As the founder of the Women’s Rugby Football Union in 1983, Chair for the first women's Rugby World Cup in 1991, and rugby captain during her time at University College London, her qualifications speak for themselves.
Growing up in England, Deborah Griffin experienced first-hand how seldom girls participated in sports. She told Women In Rugby, “I was just really surprised at how little sport females did, and it wasn’t encouraged and they all thought it was uncool.”
This inspired her future attempts to change the trajectory of women’s sports: “I want younger people to take up sport as normal.”
She went on to serve as a member of the RFU Council between the years of 2010-18. In 2010, the same year she helped organise RWC 2010 in England, Griffin earned a seat on the RFU Council and was an RFU Board Member from 2014-20. In 2018, she made history when she became one of the first female representatives on World Rugby’s Council.
When indicating what motivates her work, she emphasised: “I still believe that the issues are still there in terms of getting more females to participate in sport [and] for female sport to be valued.”
“If we’ve got 35,000 players [in England], and that’s people playing regularly, we don’t want to be the only country that’s got that. We want everybody to develop women’s rugby to the same level,” she said.
“That’s where World Rugby can be really powerful, in giving other unions the tools to do that.”
Needless to say, there is still much to be done in the realm of women’s sports, but Deborah Griffin’s election will be a great start.