Boroughmuir Rugby Club appoints first woman after 100 years

Melissa Singh pictured with Boroughmuir Rugby Club players
Melissa Singh pictured with Boroughmuir Rugby Club players
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After nearly 100 years Boroughmuir Rugby Club has appointed two women on to their board in a bid to kick gender inequality into touch.

Melissa Singh, 32, joins the Edinburgh rugby and community sports club as their marketing and communications director.

Meanwhile, Vicki Scott, 48, is on board as new honorary vice president.

In the year that celebrates the centenary of some Scottish women gaining the vote and in the wake of feminist movements like #metoo gaining traction, progress for another traditionally male-dominated sphere such as rugby has been welcomed.

The club’s constitution has never barred women from the board.

But the all-boys attitude of the sport might be the reason men have had the advantage over management positions until now.

Andy Knight, the club’s community and development 
manager, told the Evening News: “There is no real reason there has been no women on the board but it comes across as a very traditional standard ethos of rugby.

“We just never had any women coming forward for the roles.”

These days with the addition of more sports including hockey, rowing, yoga and pilates to the club the audience is much wider.

And they say that means more women are getting involved.

However, the club still doesn’t have a women’s team due to what it says is a lack of pitch space.

That hasn’t been counted out for the future, though.

Andy added: “More women are keen to come down because the club isn’t seen as stuffy anymore. It’s no longer old men drinking beer in the corner.”

There is still more work to be done to boost female numbers with membership still overwhelmingly male at 70 per cent and much of the remaining 30 per cent are mums or wives of members.

“We would encourage women to get involved. We need diversity and different points of view and opinions. Everyone might not agree but at the same time, every little helps,” said Andy.

Vicki Scott has been a member for 15 years and was awarded her new role, usually reserved for past presidents, in recognition of her unrelenting support and fundraising efforts over the years.

She is so pivotal to the club that she was voted “club person of the year” in 2016 – the name of the award was changed from man to person in honour of her win.

Melissa Singh, a commercial manager, is “delighted” to be joining the club. She said: “Boroughmuir rugby club is very open and warm and caters to all the local community.

“I’m excited to contribute my skills as a woman in business. If it inspires more women to come forward and lend their skills it will only be positive.

“It’s a challenge to change outdated opinions but I’d encourage people to ignore gender and hire the right person for the job.”