The three-year partnership will be focused on creating a community of mentors to empower Emirati women. While women continue to be under-represented in sport and especially in leadership roles, Reed Smith stands behind initiatives such as the Al Maha All-Emirati Female Rugby Development Programme and promotes women in ‘non-traditional’ women’s sports.
Reed Smith’s Middle East office managing partner, Sachin Kerur stated, “The Al Maha all-female rugby team represents more than just a sports team. They embody a new generation of leaders and, on an even bigger scale, an opportunity to redefine femininity through the lens of sport. At Reed Smith, driving progress and change for good is at the heart of what we do. We are so proud to support this initiative and look forward to growing our partnership with the team”.
“UAE Rugby’s Al Maha girls are seen as trail-blazers within their chosen sport and have celebrated an impressive number of milestones in recent years”, said Mohamed Sultan Al Zaabi, Head of Development Portfolio UAE Rugby. “Such successes include competing in Asia Rugby’s first under-18 girls tournament, participation at the third edition of the Paris World Games and the Under-18 Girls Asia 7’s Tournament, as well as completing various skills and fitness training camps; hosted in the UAE as well as abroad.“
The programme challenges gender norms and stereotypes around the participation of women in sport through empowering these women as players and competitive athletes. However, it goes beyond this as the programme also aims to develop the players as young leaders.
Fawzia Faridoon, a UAE Rugby board member, commented, “Our board is very proud of the Al Maha initiative and remains unconditionally committed to developing our Emirati sportswomen through the game of Rugby. We continue to be encouraged by the mind-set of the current group of players and are excited with the next generation of Emirati girls that are expressing interest in our sport. We believe that through the foresight of Reed Smith in partnering with us, and supporting the UAE Rugby Al Maha initiative, our girls will gain valuable life-skills that will take them forward with confidence into their professional and personal lives.”
This initiative is backed by UAE Rugby Federation’s HSBC Player Pathway Programme (PPP). Recognised by World Rugby and Asia Rugby as a leading development initiative, PPP aims to bring the sport, and the sportsmanship of rugby, to school-aged Emirati children across the Emirates, and PPP also acts as an important tool to identify and encourage women’s rugby talent to pursue the sport.
The sponsorship will support Reed Smith’s diversity and inclusion (D&I) program and initiatives including the #SeeHer movement. Launched in 2016, #SeeHer’s goal is to increase accurate portrayals of women and girls in U.S. advertising and media by 20 percent by 2020, the 100th anniversary of women in the United States winning the right to vote. Reed Smith supported the #SeeHer movement globally with an innovative online and social media “Spotlight Series” that highlighted women’s leadership roles and successes in the firm.
At Reed Smith, we believe that in the same way diversity across business, particularly at the management level, brings a breadth of perspective and better decision-making, diversity in sport can enhance the performance and effectiveness of teams on the sporting field.
About Reed Smith
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