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Australian Cricket Press for Progress Report

Siren is excited to share the 2019/20 Australian Cricket Press for Progress Report with our readers and provide some topline insight into this year’s report.

This is the third report that investigates the process of Cricket’s commitment to women and girls in different spaces: participation, organisational representation from boards to administration, and as fans of the game.

Siren Sport received the report early to process the data and provide some preliminary commentary.

View the report here.

Some of the highlights in this year’s report include:

  • Representation of women on the ten boards of Australian Cricket reaching 32%, which is the first time that crucial 30% barrier has been broken
  • More than 1,600 all-girls cricket teams created in past three years, with women and girls representing 32% of cricket participation for the first time
  • The first standalone season of the Rebel Women’s Big Bash League hitting its objectives as it carves its own window in the Australian sporting calendar

There’s no doubt that before COVID-19, women’s cricket in Australia was experiencing some wonderful momentum that was buoyed by that memorable T20 World Cup win on International Women’s Day at the MCG in front of a record-breaking crowd. The pandemic has brought much uncertainty and fear that this momentum might be lost and the support to women’s and girls program might also take the back seat as sport looks to recover.

The report highlights specific areas to ensure that this is not the case, with a focus on “the impact of COVID-19 on community sports participation and community clubs, including the impact on momentum from the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup” and “monitoring the gendered impact of COVID-19” when it comes to the workforce and opportunities in administration. This is also a key area to address in regard to elite pathways and the report identifies that management of “the impact of COVID-19 on the momentum in the domestic and international pathway” will be a key consideration.

What is also a point of difference and a welcome addition to such benchmarking and progress reports, is the introduction that is signed by cricket’s ten CEOs from around the country, committing to being more transparent and accountable in sharing the bad with the good when it comes to the work that needs to be done to achieve gender equality in sport.

“But owning our challenges is also a fundamental part of our commitment to transparency, and the highs of this past year were quickly followed by significant lows as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic spread globally. This once-in-a-century event is being felt throughout our game, and it will take deliberate and ongoing focus to ensure that perfect night at the MCG in March continues to inspire and attract more women and girls to cricket”

The introduction also provides a call out to other sports to also do the same:

“With all sports impacted to varying degrees, we call on our peers to join Australian Cricket in publicly sharing their commitments to create better opportunities for women and girls in sport. Now is not the time to revert to ways of old. It is an opportunity to reimagine our sector, with decisions to be made that will shape sport in our country for decades to come. That future must be one that includes all Australians.”

Dr Kasey Symons, Siren co-founder and Research Fellow in the Sport Innovation Research Group at Swinburne University believes this is a significant and refreshing approach.

“In the work that I do in the women in sport space, I have had the chance to interview many sporting organisations to understand what some of the barriers are to actioning projects, adjusting strategies and implementing change when it comes to gender diversity. The fear of failure is a very common theme.

“It can be jarring to run a program or campaign that misses the mark, doesn’t get the numbers or make the impact that was desired, and this often information is discarded or buried. But understanding what doesn’t work is usually much more important than knowing what does.

“Sports are alway keen to share their wins: growth in participation, sponsorship dollars, growing attendees. But we don’t see a lot of sharing when it comes to what didn’t work, or asking for help to achieve these goals—which are not easy.

“Recovery from COVID-19 will be a long process and seeing cricket be honest about their concerns, share where they need to put some more work in, and open the dialogue with other sports to be collaborative, is a pleasing move to see. Especially for fans of women’s sports, women who want to work in sport and women who consume sport who are feeling fearful during this time about losing momentum and opportunities.”

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