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NRLW star Simaima Taufa.

After being told as a child there was no limit to what women could achieve, NRLW star Simaima Taufa wants to set the tone for generations to come.

After a historic 2018, the women's game is now firmly entrenched on the rugby league landscape thanks largely to the contribution made by Taufa and her fellow players.

Speaking at the International Women's Day celebration hosted by the UN Women National Committee in Sydney on Friday, Taufa took time to reflect on the inroads women continue to make in all aspects of society.

"International Women's Day is acknowledging the fact that women are here," Taufa said.

"Women are moving up in the corporate ranks and the sporting ranks and it's good to see that women are getting acknowledged and recognised for their hard work and their efforts."

The Jillaroos and NSW lock told that as a child she was told that the world was her oyster.

Celebrating International Women's Day

"It all starts at home. Nothing was a limit for me – I could pursue any dream I had and I was never held back by my family," Taufa said.

"I started playing rugby league and I felt empowered and strong.

"Knowing there are young girls looking up to the girls that are playing in NRLW or at their local clubs, it makes you want to help be part of that movement to get women playing rugby league."

Along with Taufa, NRL chief operating officer Nick Weeks and Manly second-rower Frank Winterstein helped celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women at what was Australia's biggest IWD function.

Frank Wintersten, Nick Weeks and Simaima Taufa.
Frank Wintersten, Nick Weeks and Simaima Taufa. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

Winterstein - an NRL State of Mind and Voice Against Violence advocate - said it's important to set an example for the next generation. 

"We wouldn't be here without the women in this world. It's a day where we can come and celebrate women for who they are and how powerful they are," Winterstein said.

"It was great to hear Mele Maualaivao [Country Program Coordinator in Samoa for UN Women] speak, she's based in Samoa so it's obviously close to my heart. She mentioned that one-in-three women globally are affected by domestic violence but in Samoa it's two-in-three, which is very concerning stat being a Samoan myself.

"I've got two boys now, a three-year-old and a 10-month-old and I know that right now they are like sponges so whatever I do, how I speak or the way I act at home towards my wife, they are going to reflect those actions.

"I need to make sure I'm being a good role model for them."

Weeks said although the game has come a long way regarding its attitude towards women, more needs to be done.

"The NRL, like a lot of professional sports, are making great strides in recent years in terms of elevating the position of our elite female players – we introduced the NRLW last year which was a great success and the State of Origin," Weeks said.

"The NRL still has some work to do as do other parts of society and business in terms of elevating women into senior and powerful roles and we're focused on doing that throughout our clubs and the NRL itself."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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