Su Carty is to become Ireland’s first ever woman to be appointed as a member of the governing Council of World Rugby.
Since last November she has, alongside Mary Quinn, spearheaded the Review of the Women’s Game in Ireland. The review has been focused, detailed and is almost at the point where it will be presented to the IRFU and the different stakeholders in the sport.
She is a natural and a smart decision to become the third Irish representative on the Council.
In 2017 World Rugby made the transformative decision to invite, and pay for, eleven Rugby Unions and six regional associations who currently have two Members of the Council but three votes to appoint a third Member so long as that nominee was a woman.
The decision at a stroke increased the number of people on the World Rugby Council from 32 to 49. More than that though it means there will be a genuinely different and more diverse way of thinking brought to the highest levels of the sport.
It will be in support of the 2017-25 Strategic Plan introduced by World Rugby, Women’s Game Manager Katie Sadleir, and it moves Rugby from one of the more traditionally exclusive sports to one of its most inclusive.
Carty is a great choice to be Ireland’s representative given her deep experience within the game but even more so her strong sense of what is right and her willingness to scrap for that.
Her appointment to co-chair the Review of Women’s Rugby in Ireland was made after she approached the IRFU in October to offer her help as an independent mind on what could and should be done.
Taking her place on the World Rugby Council when it next meets in Dublin in May will be a homecoming of sorts. Carty worked as the organisations first Women’s Game Development Manager from 2009 to 2016 where she drove up the proportion of Women players affiliated to the sport from a minuscule four percent to a substantial 25 percent.
That was not her first example of success in the sport either. Through playing the game at the invitation of a friend because she was ‘sporty’, while working as a psychiatric nurse in St James’ Hospital, Carty became involved in setting up the Leinster Rugby Women’s Committee and then became Vice President and then President of the Irish Women’s Rugby Football Union.
That was a purely voluntary role in an organisation that had heart but little resource. Carty steered the move into it being part of the IRFU in 2008. This gave it the life and the support it needed to help the Irish Women’s team to a Grand Slam in 2013, to a first-ever victory at any level over New Zealand en route to a World Cup Semi Final in 2014 and memorable to Ireland hosting the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2017.
Nobody, least of all Carty herself, would claim that none of this might have happened without her enthusiasm and hard work, but she was a key player at a key time.
It is right now that she should be placed in such a central position of authority to lead change in the game not just on the Women’s side but in all aspects of the sport over the coming years.
“I am very proud to have been asked by the IRFU committee to take on this role,” said Carty last night.
“The women’s game continues to grow and with that growth comes the opportunity for more women to get involved in our great game.”
“Sport brings people together like nothing else, and we are lucky in Ireland to have such passionate and committed players, coaches, volunteers and fans, and I hope that our work can encourage more women and girls to join this fantastic sport that delivers such rich experiences and values for all.”
“Su has a rich background in the game,” added IRFU Chairman, Declan Madden, “and has done fantastic work in the promotion of the women’s game across the world.”
“Su is a great role model and we hope more women will be inspired by her to get involved in rugby, at every level of the game.
“I am proud to consider Su as a friend. She has spoken at Sport for Business events in the past and we sincerely will do so again in the future. She mixes a passion for doing the right thing with the purpose to do it in the right way. She is a brilliant choice by the IRFU to help Ireland play a vital role in the development of the sport.
Su helps organisations to build team culture, to understand the benefits of wellbeing in the workplace and to learn the lessons from sport that can be applied to business. Her own business can be seen at www.sucarty.com.