International Women’s Day: Cricket Australia will address 73-0 gender gap in statues around the country

Cricket Australia has marked International Women’s Day by committing to addressing gender imbalances in the game, including the lack of statues of female cricketers around the country.

The governing body said there were 73 statues or sculptures of male cricketers in Australia compared to none of women, but that imbalance would soon be reduced a little with pieces commissioned for the country’s two best-known grounds.

The Sydney Cricket Ground, which has life-size bronze sculptures of cricketing greats Stan McCabe, Steve Waugh and Richie Benaud in its precinct, will add a statue of a female cricketer this year.

Another artwork has been commissioned for Melbourne Cricket Ground to commemorate last year’s final of the Twenty20 World Cup, which attracted 86,174 fans to the venue.

“We are committed to challenging ourselves to continue to address gender inequality across our game,” Cricket Australia’s interim chief executive Nick Hockley said in a news release. “So many challenges have been presented since that day, and it is now more important than ever that we keep pushing for equality in cricket and keep building the momentum established before the pandemic.”

We’re choosing to challenge on this International Women’s Day.

In exciting news, the first sculpture of a women’s cricketer is going to be housed at the @scg!

It’s time to address gender imbalance in public recognition of the women’s game. #IWD2021  #ChooseToChallange pic.twitter.com/GcvUangOrx

Cricket Australia has formed a “Recognition of Women in Cricket Working Group” which, among other projects, will decide on the subject of the SCG sculpture.

“It’s going to be a pretty incredible list to choose from,” working group member and Australia vice-captain Rachael Haynes told reporters in front of the Benaud statue at the SCG.

“Just for a player who’s been involved for a long time, it’s going to be nice to walk in to a stadium like the SCG and be able walk past some of the heroes who have led the way.

“I’m looking forward to learning about our history and the contribution some of these female players have made.”

‘Diversity is key for female equality in sport’

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Former England captain Charlotte Edwards and journalist Isabelle Westbury joined Sky Sports’ pundits Nasser Hussain and Rob Key on The Cricket Show for a frank and open discussion on the issues involved.

The debate came just days after BBC reporter Sonja McLaughlan revealed she was reduced to tears after online abuse was directed at her for a Six Nations interview she conducted with England rugby union captain Owen Farrell.

You can listen to the discussion in full by downloading The Cricket Show podcast now.

‘Disappointed in ECB response to Hartley-Burns dispute’

In the podcast, Westbury was critical with how the ECB handled the Alex Hartley and Rory Burns social media dispute.

She said: “I found it quite disappointing, the ECB’s response to the Alex Hartley debate. I think Burns and Hartley were both personally talked to. Slapped wrists, so to speak. I think the specific quote from the ECB was that Rory Burns had to be reminded of his responsibilities.

“His responsibility is to not have those attitudes in the first place. It’s like ECB have put a plaster on it, ignoring the wider cause which is actually from some of the attitudes from the men’s players that seem to be quite problematic. The ECB have quite a few things to learn.

“It’s a wider, more deep-rooted cultural problem. With the Alex Hartley-Rory Burns spat, we saw with the attitudes there is still a lot to be desired there. The idea that the women’s game owes everything it has to the men’s game… I saw a tweet saying ‘Why would you watch a women’s game?’.

“The women’s and men’s game work well together. The women’s game of course has benefitted from interest in the men’s game. If you are a men’s professional cricket player and you open up the game to 50 per cent more of the population then it is going to benefit you as well. It’s a symbiotic relationship rather than the women owing the men and the men have done everything for them.”

Nasser Hussain said to Edwards: “It must all be incredibly exhausting. I watched you and commentated on you. You are a tough character. When you are playing the game people are having a go at you. When you are commentating people are having a go at the game you are talking on. I have seen all of the tweets, ‘This is no better than club cricket’. When you become a broadcaster you are asked ‘What do you know about facing a 90mph ball?’ No wonder you end up with a woman in a car crying her eyes out.”

“I think it’s ridiculous. I don’t turn up to a comms box and say ‘how many Tests have you played?’ I judge people by how they broadcast. Can they call a key moment? Have they done their research? All of us don’t tick every single box in broadcasting.

“How can I go to Australia and lecture on how to win the Ashes? I lost the Ashes in 11 days. I can still have a comment on it. I’ve never played a T20 game so does that mean I can never commentate on a T20 game?”

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