National Census results released by Cricket Australia (CA) yesterday highlighted that cricket is now more popular than ever with females.
Female participation increased 18.8% in 2012-13 and now makes up almost 19% of cricket’s participants. The number of females playing cricket has also more than doubled in the last four years.
The increase in numbers can be attributed in part to the success of the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars as well as CA’s junior participation programs (MILO in2CRICKET and MILO T20 Blast) and the Big Bash League which is attracting new audiences to the game.
QUICK SINGLE: Record numbers playing cricket
The Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars are currently number one in all three formats of the game and have won back-to-back ICC Women’s World Twenty20 titles in 2010 and 2012 as well as the 2013 ICC Women’s World Cup. They are also the holders of the Women’s Ashes with the 2013 series currently underway in England.
The teams’ victories also resulted in an increase in media coverage of women’s cricket with their World Cup win in February generating media coverage worth over $8 million dollars.
Cricket Australia Chief Executive James Sutherland said: “Australians can be very proud of the success of the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars, especially over the last 12 months.
“They are fantastic role models for all young girls in Australia and I know that their achievements have encouraged many females all over the country to pick up a bat or a ball and give cricket a go.
“CA’s focus on women’s cricket is not limited to those at the elite level. CA is focused on growing the participation base at all levels and it was pleasing to see an 18.8% increase in the census. The launch of PlayCricket and new shorter versions of the game will make it easier than ever for females to get involved in a club.
“The Australian Government has been a fantastic supporter of the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars through their Women in Sport Media Grant program which has helped us to vastly grow the profile of women’s cricket in Australia.
“More than ever we are seeing players like Jodie Fields, Ellyse Perry and Meg Lanning on our television screens and reading about them in the newspaper.
“A big thank you should also go to ABC, Channel Nine and FOX Sports for their continued support of the women’s game as well as Cricket Australia’s digital platforms that for the first time this year, streamed the Rose Bowl matches live on cricket.com.au,” Mr Sutherland said.
Cricket Australia recently announced the restructuring of the women’s contract system that saw the top players retainers increased from $15,000 to $52,000 and the minimum retainer increased from $5,000 to $25,000.
“The contracts recognised the performances and commitment of the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars and were a major step in working towards a day where women’s cricket is fully professional and they are able to earn living from playing,” he said.
Mr Sutherland also acknowledged the involvement of women in administrative positions throughout cricket.
“Nearly all of our state and territory cricket associations now have female board members and at Cricket Australia Jacquie Hey is making a tremendous contribution as a Director. Furthermore, at management level, females are increasingly well represented and performing key executive roles at Cricket Australia and in our various cricket associations,” said Mr Sutherland.
The PlayCricket website is designed to encourage participation in cricket at all levels. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’ve come from or whether you’ve ever picked up a bat or ball, everyone can play cricket. To find out more or to sign up to Australia’s favourite sport visit www.playcricket.com.au
First Posted 27 August, 2013 10:32AM AEDT