Amanda Blanc reiterates her belief she received ‘misogynistic comments’ during Rugby role

In Sport


Former chairwoman of Welsh rugby’s Professional Rugby Board Amanda Blanc reiterates her belief she was ‘simply not listened to’ and that she received ‘misogynistic comments’ during her time in the role

  • Amanda Blanc stood down from her PRB role in 2021 after less than two years
  • The former chairwoman has reiterated her belief she was ‘simply not listened to’
  • She also said she received ‘misogynistic comments’ during her time in the role 

The former chairwoman of Welsh rugby’s Professional Rugby Board has reiterated her belief she was ‘simply not listened to’ and that she received ‘misogynistic comments’ during her time in the role.

Amanda Blanc, who is the chief executive of Aviva and one of the UK’s most respected business operators, stood down from her PRB role in 2021 after less than two years in the position.

At the time, no reason was given for Blanc’s exit. But since then she has been vocal in her belief she was not respected by her Welsh rugby peers because she is a woman.

The PRB is made up of senior members of the Welsh Rugby Union and representatives from the country’s four professional sides. It is the highest decision-making body in Welsh rugby.

Blanc’s departure kick-started a process which led to other female former WRU employees to speak out about a culture of sexism and misogyny at the governing body.

Amanda Blanc, who is the chief executive of Aviva and one of the UK's most respected business operators, stood down from her PRB role in 2021 after less than two years

Amanda Blanc, who is the chief executive of Aviva and one of the UK’s most respected business operators, stood down from her PRB role in 2021 after less than two years

Talking on BBC Radio 4 show, Desert Island Discs, Blanc said: ‘I spent two years on the WRU board and I would say I’m a reasonable businessperson.

‘I’ve been in business for a long period but I was just simply not listened to. There were some misogynistic comments. There was one which was ‘What do you know about governance?’.

‘Well, quite a lot actually. I’ve got 32 years of experience and I operate in a regulated business. Nobody else was asked that question, but I was. I got a written apology for it.’

Blanc had previously expressed her shock at a senior WRU figure allegedly saying that women should ‘know their place in the kitchen and stick to the ironing.’

Earlier this year, former WRU employee Charlotte Wathan revealed a colleague had joked about raping her among a series of other allegations.

‘I still feel genuinely, and I don’t say this very often, that if I had been listened to than we wouldn’t have had the situation that happened over the last number of weeks, particularly in respect of the women’s game,’ Blanc added. ‘There was a woman’s review which was undertaken about the way women were treated very, very differently to men.

‘I called for the women’s review to be made public and I called for the board’s governance to be modernised. Neither of those two things have happened and we find ourselves now in the situation where a lot of women have come forward to say they were badly treated.’

The former chairwoman of Welsh rugby's Professional Rugby Board has reiterated her belief she was 'simply not listened to' and that she received 'misogynistic comments'

The former chairwoman of Welsh rugby’s Professional Rugby Board has reiterated her belief she was ‘simply not listened to’ and that she received ‘misogynistic comments’

The WRU is attempting to make significant governance changes with plans to include more female representation on their board.

A vote on those changes will be held at an extraordinary general meeting on March 26.

Of her time at the WRU, Blanc said: ‘It left me feeling deeply frustrated, very sad actually.

‘But I am hopeful that with the review that’s now being undertaken, and I hope I am asked to contribute to that review, that there will be change. It needs to change.’



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