We can all help to inspire each other.
Cricket is a massive part of my life. My whole family play; we spend ninety percent of our summer either driving to, playing or watching cricket and most of the TV that’s on in our house is cricket. I have been playing for as long as I can remember and when my brother was old enough to join a club, my mum expected me to do the same. If he was going to join a cricket club, so was I. It didn’t matter that there wasn’t a girls’ cricket club, I would just join the boys’ one. In this respect I owe a lot to my mum; without her unshakable determination that I would have access to the same cricketing opportunities as my brother, I probably wouldn’t be writing this now. Thanks mum.
One of my earliest cricketing memories is from when I was 9 years old. We had just played our local “derby”. I have absolutely no memory of the actual match; all I know is that we won. And that I was wearing my pink sunhat. It was sunny and hot, and, like most cricketers would, I chose to wear a sunhat - mine just happened to be my favourite colour, pink. After the game we had a joint team chat. Our coach went through his analysis of the game and then it was their coach’s turn. I remem-ber very clearly him turning to his all-male team and saying, with a mix of anger and disgust, “I’m going to have to report back to your schoolmasters that you were beaten by a girl in a pink hat!”. Quite honestly, I wasn’t really sure how to react. I remember at that moment thinking I had played well, so I sort of took it as a compliment. However, I also remember feeling totally horrified and uneasy - why did it matter that I was a girl? Why did it matter that I’d worn a pink hat? Why did either of those things affect the game? We had played better cricket and won the match - that’s what mattered to me and what should have mattered to him. Instead, all he could focus on was my sex and the colour of my sunhat. How depressing.
Looking back on it now, I’m actually very proud of my 9 year old self, for experiencing such degradation and not let it stop me playing cricket. In fact, it had quite the opposite effect; my whole life since I have actively tried to get more women involved in cricket, and in sport in general, and here at Warwick I want to do the same. I couldn’t believe it when I came to the university last year and there wasn’t a Women’s Cricket Club, so I decided to start setting one up (with the help of the Men’s CC, whom I cannot thank enough).
Our training sessions are going really well; we now have our own kit, and we have played in our first ever game. Despite the fact that we lost, it was an amazing success - everyone had a great time playing, and for four out of six of our team, it was their first ever game of cricket! It was a very special moment.
Sport is just one area of life that has historically been male dominated, but with the rising profile of women’s sport on the international and national stage we are breaking that idea apart. However, it starts with us and we can all help to inspire each other. It’s just a matter of getting out there and getting active - go for a swim, or try out a completely new sport, and take your friends with you! You never know, you could end up inspiring one of them, or just a random person you’ve never met who saw you on a run one day, to get active.
As with all areas of life where women have fought for equality, the actions we take now will have consequences for our children, our grandchildren and every generation after that. Every woman who plays a sport now, is active now, every woman who goes to a “This Girl Can” event, or tries or takes up a new sport, is helping to achieve equality in sport, and society, by changing attitudes and demanding that these opportunities exist for women. So join the campaign, get active and help us to carry on breaking that glass ceiling - one step, gym session and cricket shot at a time.