Welford Road will host a top-flight double header on Sunday, October 25 as Leicester Tigers face Harlequins in the opening home game of the Aviva Premiership season, followed by a Women’s Premiership fixture between Lichfield Ladies and Wasps.
Welcoming the first-ever Women's Premiership fixture to be hosted at the club's home represents part of the Tigers Foundation's commitment to women's and girls' rugby.
Tigers and the club's new Foundation have boosted resources to support the growth of the women's and girls' game.
Last season the Foundation launched a girls-only programme with coaching camps based at Market Harborough RFC and Melton Mowbray RFC, plus the first girls-only Coaching Masterclass.
To maintain a focus on the women's and girls' rugby, the Leicester Tigers Foundation has committed to the following by the end of 2016:
- Two venues hosting FREE two-day rugby taster camps for girls aged under-13 to under-18.
- A Coaching Masterclass with a top Leicester Tigers coach at Welford Road.
- A girls-only Tigers Rugby Camp during summer 2016
- A chance for all girls involved in our programmes to share in a Welford Road experience
- To host a Women's Premiership fixture alongside a Tigers first-team game
- Work towards having a dedicated women's and girls' development officer
- Dedicate a Foundation ambassador towards promoting the women's and girls' game.
The Rugby Football Union estimates that around 7,000 women and 11,000 girls currently take part in playing rugby across England.
The numbers show a major growth in the game over the last decade, but drop-outs can still result in the folding of entire teams, increasing the distance that players have to travel for fixtures and reducing the number of teams that girls are able to transition into after the under-13 gender split.
The game's governing body hopes that, through club programmes and initiatives, another 6,000 women and girls can be recruited into the game by 2017.
Chris Rose, Tigers Foundation Trustee and Tigers Head of Brand, said: "Like all sports, rugby has to overcome the obstacle of falling numbers when girls reach adolescence and when teams become gender divided.
"There are many reasons for the numbers of drop-outs, including confidence, image and peer group preferences, but we have to find solutions for these to make sure that we are encouraging more girls to take part in sport in general and rugby in particular.
"We're pleased to announce that Lichfield Ladies are coming to play in front of our fans at Welford Road. We have a great relationship with Lichfield as a club, and Emily Scarratt – a World Cup winner with England last year – is one of our Foundation ambassadors, so it's only fitting for them to showcase the women's game with us."