Guide to Diversity - Girls and Women

Cricket for Girls and Women is the fastest growing area of Australian Cricket.

Inspired by the world champion Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars, girls and women of all ages are getting involved in cricket.

Girls and Women - Fast Facts

  • Participation by Girls and Women in cricket has more than doubled over the past five years.
  • Girls and women make up 24% of cricket's total participation.
  • In the 2014 Australian Cricket participation census, 290,493 girls and women played cricket across entry level, school and club programs.

Girls and Women - Cricket Advantages

  • Customised female programs have been designed specifically for female preferences.
  • Increased profile of the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars and State players as role models.
  • Competitive and social options are available.
  • Clear pathway to State and National representation with professional playing contracts.
  • Cricket is being offered with more flexible scheduling and in shorter forms.
  • The game is social at all levels with high adherence to the Spirit of the Game.
  • Uniforms are culturally appropriate for conservative participants.
  • There is no physical contact, with lower concussions and injury rates than contact sports.
  • Indoor cricket negates exposure to unfavourable weather.

Girls and Women - Focus to Increase Participation

  • Girls and women coming from a "cricket family" background.
  • Multicultural - South Asian communities that have cricket embedded in their culture.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women - increase participation over existing preferred sports: softball, basketball, netball and touch football.
  • Low socio economic - overcome barriers of time, cost and relevance.

Girls and Women - A Sport for All Tips for Better Engagement

Consideration Tips
1. Time
"Cricket goes forever!"
"I can't give up my weekends!"

New Modified Versions

Offer modified versions of the game spanning no longer than 1-3 hours, scheduled on midweek and weekends. MILO T20 Blast is perfect for the time poor.

Entertainment Window

To engage girls and women, initially offer versions in the "Entertainment Window" - no more than 3 hours.

Flexibility

Offer fun, unstructured "pick-up" versions in which any player can join without fixed weekly

2. Awareness
"Do Girls even play cricket?"
"My daughter isn't going to play cricket"

Quote Statistics

Cricket is one of the fastest growing sports for girls and women in Australia. Since 2010, female participation in Australia has more than doubled.

Highlight and use Role Models

The Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars and State female players make regular community appearances. Players can be booked through State and Territory associations to support programs.

Communications

Use social media, your website and local newspapers to build awareness of your programs and successes. Adapt communications to girls and women in Indigenous and multicultural communities.

Formalise

Include 'participation by Girls and Women' as an agenda item for monthly and annual meetings.

3. Knowledge
"I don't understand the rules."
"Why should I play?"

Customised Collateral

Access and distribute online and printed materials focused on building girls and women's knowledge of the rules of the game.

Sell the Benefits

Highlight the benefits of participating in cricket - fun, social, fitness, networks.

4. Personal involvement
"I don't want to stand around in the field and watch other people bat."
"How else can I get involved?"

Modified versions

Engage participants using MILO T20 Blast, designed so everybody is guaranteed to have a bowl and a bat.

Simple volunteering entry point

Provide simple non-time consuming opportunities for girls and women to be involved e.g. Skills zones in MILO T20 Blast is a great way to engage and retain girls and women in a volunteering experience.

5. Low Competence (skill + confidence)
"I'll never be able to pick up the skills."

Social cricket

Offer Social Cricket tailored for girls and women to learn the game in a fun environment.

Focus on strengths

Provide opportunities for the players to practice what they are good at in a game/activities environment (as opposed to a traditional 'net session'). Encourage the players to hit the ball into the gaps to score runs as opposed to play a particular shot. The players will work out the best way to achieve this! Allow the players to celebrate their successes, no matter how small. A player making her first run/taking her first wicket is a huge achievement, be sure to acknowledge this.

6. Weather
"I don't want to stand around in the sun or the rain."

Modified formats

Indoor Cricket is perfect if players want to stay out of the elements and offers a less exposed cricket experience. Twilight cricket is also an option.

7. Male Dominated Environment
"It's a bit too blokey"
"Cricket Clubs are full of sexist dinosaurs"

Female friendly environments & seek feedback

Ask girls and women to provide feedback in how to create female-friendly club environments. Provide structured and unstructured opportunities (e.g. surveys, evaluation forms, forums for feedback on club environment inclusivity) to identify gaps that need to be addressed.

Welcoming Officer

Appoint a dedicated "Welcome Officer", tasked with ensuring a welcoming and inclusive club environment for girls and women.

Female committee members

Female committee members at clubs are crucial in creating inclusive environments. Identify committee roles to match skills of female members/parents.

Inclusive social events

Ensure that girls and women are included in planning and design of social activities for clubs.

Mixed cricket

To build trust and increase female engagement, offer fun mixed cricket options for one-off social events or on a regular basis.

Change Facilities

Girls and women require separate change room facilities to men.

8. Cost
"The cost of living is going up - how can I afford to play cricket?"

Low cost versions

Develop low cost and subsidised versions of the game at entry level. Commercial Partners are key in providing sustainable programs.

Pay as you go

Offer casual participation options (i.e. pay as you go).

Grants programs

Identify grant opportunities to subsidise playing costs at local council, state and federal level. (e.g. State Sport and Recreation departments).

Club equipment

Have a free team kit of equipment available for use. Ensure it is clean and of appropriate weight and size, particularly for young girls where body image and self-image are important.

9. Safety
"Is my girl safe playing your sport?"

Non-contact

Promote the fact that cricket is a safe and non-contact sport.

Working With Children / Police checks

Ensure all key club members have current checks completed.

Membership Protection Officer

Ensure your club has a dedicated Membership Protection Officer who is the point of contact if any issues occur. See www.playbytherules.net.au/mpio

Transport planning

Develop a plan to ensure transport needs of all players are identified and addressed including transit together to facilities, pickup and drop off at public transport station, carpooling and use of a local council bus.

Insurance

Have club insurance summary available and send it to prospective parents and players.

Physical safety

Communicate all safety information to parents from the number of First Aid trained club members to medical infrastructure including defibrillator and First Aid kit. Develop and communicate safety guidelines to ensure best practice if physical injury occurs.

10. No personal link to the club
"I'm new to the area and don't know anybody in the club"

Buddy system

For all new players, implement a 'buddy system' in which an established or confident team member is assigned to befriend and nurture the new team member and help integrate them into the team.

Welcome event

Host a special event to welcome new players and develop a sense of belonging.

11. Perception
"No girls are interested in playing cricket"

Statistics
Role Models

Highlight likely instances of current informal participation (e.g. backyard cricket)

Target daughters of participants

85% of current underage female state representatives were introduced to the game by a male influence.

Target sisters of current junior participants. Current underage female state representative players are twice as likely to have a brother.

Role Model: Mel Jones

Mel Jones has been deeply involved in all aspects of female cricket over the past two decades.

As a player, she represented Australia in five Tests and 61 One-Day Internationals, including two winning World Cup and Ashes teams.

Though her playing career ended in 2010, Mel maintains a strong relationship with cricket through media, management, and administrative work.

Commentary duties with Sky Sports UK, ESPN Star Sport and Channel 9 have entrenched her as a leading voice of female cricket, and she works with female cricket's brightest talents in a management and career development capacity.

Away from cricket, Mel is an Ambassador for Red Dust, an organisation focused on the betterment of Indigenous community health.

CASE STUDY

Cricket NSW Breakers Junior Cricket League

After a successful pilot program (Little Breakers League - modified cricket) on Sydney's North Shore in 2013, where the number of players in 'girls-only' competitions effectively doubled in Sydney metro in one season, it became apparent that the 'next step' - junior club cricket - was not sufficiently prepared to welcome the influx of new players and families.

Issues included unclear age groups (8-year-olds playing with 17-year-olds), hard ball-only cricket, inconsistent rules between regions as well as having no girls-only clubs located in Greater Western Sydney, despite boasting a population of more than two million people.

A survey was sent to all girls and families who were involved in girls-only club cricket in the 2013/14 season, as well as the new 'Little Breakers'. Questions included asking girls and families if they were interested in having an option to play hard ball cricket, preferred formats and rules, which time of the year/day of the week/time of day was preferred, if quality of grounds was an issue previously, and more.

  • Spring Season (Oct - Nov) over 8 weeks.
  • Summer Season (Jan-Mar) over 8 weeks.
  • 8-a-side T20 Competition.
  • One-off team fee per season.
  • 2 x Zones - North East and South East metro, expanding to NW and SW metro and targeted regional centres in 2015/16.
  • 3 x Divisions - U15 Division 1 (12-14yrs), U15 Division 2 (12-14yrs - to commence Summer season), U18 Division 1 (15-17yrs).
  • In the first year, there are three independent girls' schools who play in the competition.
  • Stand-alone website that acts as a competition management tool, communication hub as well as primary contact point for players and families.
  • Representative cricket pathway - the Breakers Junior Cricket Carnival is the rebranded representative carnival for girls, operating as a 1-week tournament (January 19-23, 2015).

Case Study Tips:

  1. Create a clear vision - write a strategic plan which clearly articulates your direction.
  2. Consult with the community - seek advice about the barriers to participation.
  3. Surround yourself with people who are willing and able to execute - including staff and community volunteers.
  4. Create a sustainable model - seed funding may be necessary, and seek sponsorship to allow sufficient resources.
  5. Customise materials specifically for girls with high quality resources and presentation - website, promotional video, collateral.

CASE STUDY

Social 6ers Perth Womens Competition

The Twilight 6ers Ladies Social Cricket is a six-week female competition based at Perth Cricket Club.

Held on Friday evenings throughout January and February, the program is designed to encourage girls and women of all abilities to get involved in cricket in a highly social setting.

A 12-over, non-traditional format is used to give all participants equal opportunity to get involved. Matches are followed by a barbeque and social gathering. Sixteen teams participated in a highly successful first year of the program.

Social 6ers

Case Study Tips:

  1. Identify a ground/club who has a keen interest in assisting the program (E.g. supplying volunteers, free use of grounds, access to facilities).
  2. Spread the word throughout the entire cricket community in your area:
    • Local junior/senior community clubs
    • District/Premier Grade cricket clubs
    • Schools
    • Opposing sporting codes/clubs
    • Key stakeholder groups
  3. Utilise social media:
    • Tag friends in program posts
    • Share posts
    • "Boost" post to maximise exposure
  4. Apply an affordable cost to the program to ensure team commitment for duration of the program.
  5. Keep the season short, between 4-8 weeks.
  6. Simplify rules and use a format that maximises involvement.
  7. Consider changing the format week-to-week to maintain engagement, (e.g. extend/reduce number of overs or include super overs).
  8. Constant communication with teams via email, phone, text and social media.
  9. Make it a social atmosphere with music, BBQs, pizza nights, a quiz night.

RESOURCES FOR INCLUDING GIRLS AND WOMEN

guide.womenwin.org/ig/safe-spaces
www.playbytherules.net.au/got-an-issue/team-selection/girls-playing-in-boys-teams

Role Model: Holly Ferling - Female Cricket Ambassador for MILO

Holly Ferling is an Australian cricketer who made her debut for the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars in 2013.

"I had always played backyard cricket against my younger brother Lane and dad. Sometimes I would go to Lane's junior cricket trainings and have a bowl but I wasn't really that interested in cricket. It wasn't until a Monday night when I was playing touch football and I had a girl in my team ask me to come and trial for the district school girls team. I had no idea there was such a thing as women's cricket until then. Within a couple months of making that district team, I made the state school girls cricket team.

Being from a rural area, the only time I played in a girls team was when I went away to the National Youth Championships with the Queensland team, but that was only once a year. Every other time, I played against - and with - boys and men. I played my first men's match when I was 13 and actually ended up taking a hat-trick off the first 3 balls I bowled. I took another wicket later that over and had figures of 4-0 off my first over. I enjoyed playing against the boys and the men. They taught me exactly where to bowl and I guess it was always good to say you bowled the boys out."

CASE STUDY

Para Districts Women's Competition

Background: The Para District Women's Competition was created in the 1997 with six teams to respond to a community demand for a social competition for women in the northern suburbs of Adelaide.

Spearheaded by Elaine Figallo, the competition routinely caters for 16-20 teams each season. Teams are made up of 8-9 players, and groups are encouraged to form their own teams. The competition focuses on having fun and creating a family atmosphere within the clubs and offers a range of grades catering for various skill levels.

The competition runs on Monday nights for two hours. Matches are played over consecutive Monday nights, with 32 overs bowled each week. All players except the wicketkeeper must bowl at least one over and batters must retire on 30.

The strength of the competition comes from its community focus. The competition is heavily supported by both players and volunteers, including husbands, fathers, grandfathers and friends who assist with the running of the competition. The women and girls involved range from school age to women in their fifties.

Case Study Tips:

  1. Use non-traditional playing times, such as Monday evenings.
  2. Keep competition short, less than three hours.
  3. Include social activities, such as BBQs to create a social atmosphere.
  4. Involve friends and families of players in the running of programs.
  5. Create a structure that caters for varying levels of competence.

CASE STUDY

Valley District Cricket Club

Background: Valley District Cricket Club introduced a women's 2nd grade cricket team for the 2014-15 cricket season.

To ensure a steady flow of players, a pathway of junior participation was necessary to produce the next wave of players.

With the support of Queensland Cricket, the club established an eight-week girls-only MILO T20 Blast program with the first 96 offered fully-funded positions in the program. Forty-five girls signed up for the first year of the program.

To complete the pathway for girls from junior participation to senior competition, Valley DCC created a girls Super 6s program. Thirty MILO T20 Blast program participants graduated to the Super 6s program - a 66% retention rate from MILO T20 Blast to Super 6s.

Case Study Tips:

  1. Create a pathway that maintains participation and encourages progress.
  2. Use modified, shortened versions of cricket such as MILO T20 Blast to minimise time commitment.
  3. Attend - and sell program at - a Junior Committee Meeting, emphasising to the club that there is no risk in setting up the program.
  4. Use the stress-free MILO T20 Blast environment - no need to provide a coordinator, no financial stress or need to locate a ground - as an easy introduction for the club.
    Engage senior players as volunteers and role models.
  5. Seek support from state/territory cricket association, in particular the support of female state players as inspiration to reach the elite level.
  6. Supporting the club after the T20 Blast program has finished to create a pathway into which the girls can progress.
  7. Provide girls with an introduction to the club. This shows the girls and parents that the club is inclusive and they are a valued member of it.
  8. Ensure there is a passionate and dedicated Junior Management Committee in place to support girls programs and ensure the sustainability of pathways.