My name is Ellie Boatman and I am a professional rugby player for England 7s and Wasps Women.
I haven’t always been openly proud about the sport I play and it’s taken me a number of years to feel confident to tell people that I play rugby.
I started at four years old at Camberley Rugby Club and I was one of the only girls who played. Back then it didn’t matter that I was a girl and I loved the fact that I was stronger and faster than most of the boys.
As I got older, I started noticing negativity towards girls playing rugby. Boys from other teams would make comments on the pitch and even other parents. In my teenage years, I often felt embarrassed to tell people I played rugby and would often receive negativity or people making jokes.
I lost my love for the sport and took three years out from playing during my teenage years. I look back now and feel frustrated that I let other people get me down but I also am grateful that I managed to rediscover my love for the sport.
In 2022, women’s rugby is growing more than ever. I have played in some amazing stadiums including Twickenham, I’ve travelled abroad to play and I’ve been live streamed on TV. I never thought I’d be able to call rugby my full-time job and playing for my country was always just a dream.
The demand for Women’s Sport is growing day by day and we deserve to have a platform where young girls and boys are able to watch us play.
For me International Women’s Day is about supporting the women and girls in your life, whatever their dream may be, or whatever sport they may play.
Women are able to achieve huge successes with the right support systems in place.