Sport is a common platform that can connect and develop communities worldwide
When equality exists in sport, gender parity is more likely to prevail in communities overall. When women are recognised and treated as equals in sport – both on and off the field – this momentum fuels wider change.
When Australian Cricket heard the call to think, act and be gender inclusive via the 2018 International Women's Day "Press for Progress" campaign, they knew it aligned well with their own goal of cricket being the leading sport for women and girls in Australia.
In response, they launched their inaugural Press for Progress Report, which outlined the current ‘state of play’ and committed to annual updates on progress within their sporting sector. The report required coordination across all 10 organisations within Australian Cricket, with each CEO signing the report to reinforce their commitment publicly.
The Press for Progress Report will see annual updates outlining progress made regarding women's equality in sport.
The timing of the report is key, with the countdown on for the International Cricket Council's (ICC) World T20 2020 women's final, to be played in Australia on International Women’s Day in 2020. The final is an exciting opportunity to break the world record for the most attended women's sporting event in history, and will be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
With women and girls representing 30% of all cricket participants in 2018, and an almost-90 year history of women’s elite competitions in the country, the call to #PressForProgress is key to a sport looking to make the final push to be seen as gender equal in Australia.
"As we continue to press for progress for women's equality in cricket, we encourage further sporting associations worldwide to join us in achieving gender parity in sport and its associated industries."
Belinda Clark AO, former Australian Women’s Cricket Team Captain (1994-2005)
Australian Cricket presses for progress
Borne out of 2017’s Australian Cricket Strategy which focused heavily on the critical importance of women and girls to the sustainability of cricket in Australia, the Australian Cricket Press for Progress Report outlined how Australian cricket is performing in five key areas:
1. Gender diversity in the Australian cricket workforce
2. Development of a sustainable participation base
3. The elite talent pathway
4. Growth of women’s elite cricket
5. Women and girls as fans
"The Australian Cricket Press For Progress Report is more than just talking about what we as a sport need to do. It provides transparency about the progress we are making, and are still to make. While we know there is still work to be done to achieve true gender equity in our sport, we are committed to ensuring cricket is a sport for all."
Kevin Roberts, Chief Operating Officer, Cricket Australia
Australian Cricket launched a 5-year strategy for being the leading sport for women and girls.
Influencing future generations of women and girls in sport
A powerful video highlighting the need to press for progress for women's equality in sport was released alongside the report. "The future of cricket is equality and our ambitions are bold. We don't want to be just an inclusive sport. We want to be the leading sport for women and girls. We want to grow lasting female participation, to grow our fan base, and to grow the women's elite game. We want our organisations to have more women as leaders and to offer a professional pathway for female elite athletes where their dreams can become a reality," the video cites.
VIDEO: The future of cricket is equality.
"Australian Cricket recognises that equality is the future of cricket, and while women have always been a part of the sport, we know that more still needs to be done to truly make cricket a sport for all," the video concludes.
"We're proud that we can point to several successes over the past few years as an indication that we are making meaningful steps to achieving our goal. At the same time, we are under no illusion that we still have significant ground to cover if we are to be successful in our ambitions, and a key element of the Press for Progress Report is to call out those areas...The Press for Progress Report reinforces our commitment for cricket to become a gender equal sport, and the importance we continue to place upon women and girls as we look towards the future."
James Sutherland, Chief Executive Officer, Cricket Australia
Sharing the global message to #PressforProgress
Australian Cricket has a considerable social following and their commitment to #PressforProgress was seen by more than 100,000 people. The report was shared with key stakeholders in government, industry, sporting communities, the media and the Male Champions of Change coalition.
"Through the commitment to release the Press for Progress Report annually, we are inviting public critique on how we deliver greater inclusion and engagement of, and opportunities for, women and girls in our sport not just on the 8th March 2018, not just for the year of 2018, but year-on-year as we work towards achieving our goal of becoming the ‘Leading Sport for Women and Girls’. In our eyes, IWD 2018 is just the beginning."
Sarah Styles, Head of Female Engagement, Cricket Australia
Cricket is a sport for all Australians and thankfully the increasing profile and accessibility of cricket for women and girls in Australia continues to grow. But, there is still more to do, and work is tenaciously needed to keep up the strong #PressforProgress.
Further sporting groups supported the call to press for progress
Meanwhile, many further sporting personalities and groups were keen to help drive women's equality in sport and supported the global call to press for progress. Across sports, there were further examples of best practice as the sporting community rallied to raise awareness about the importance of gender parity in sport.
Special recognition should be given to members of the Women's Rugby teams from Fiji, USA, Australia and South Africa, as well as the Essendon Football Club in Australia, Asia Rugby and British Rowing. These sporting groups got behind the #PressforProgress global campaign in innovative ways to show their support for helpoing to forge women's equaity in sport.
In fact, the list of supporters is long however it is the collective action of all that forges change. Well done and congratulations to all sporting communities that continue to #PressforProgress
A strong need to press for progress for women's equality in sport
VIDEO: USA women's rugby team members Kelsi Stockert and Abby Gustaitis encourage others to press for progress.
VIDEO: A strong and tenacious call to press for progress came from the Fiji women's rugby team.
VIDEO: South African women's rugby team members Megan Comley and Chane Stadler give a firm call to press for progress.
VIDEO: Strong advocacy for Women’s Rugby in Asia to benefit from a press for progress for equality.
VIDEO: "Press for Progress" when it comes to women's sport says Charlotte Caslick OAM, Australian professional representative and Olympic Level rugby union player, Olympic Gold medal winner Rio 2016 alongside Craig Twentyman, Strength & Conditioning Coach, Head of Athletic Performance
VIDEO: Essendon Football Club takes gender equality very seriously and aims to be a leader in their community.
VIDEO: British Rowing made their own engaging video while also putting the call out to further groups to press for progress.
The Papua New Guinea Women's Rugby Sevens team called on the sporting community to #PressforProgress worldwide.
Pressing for progress is the Fiji Women's Rugby Sevens team who are very motivated to see women's equality in sport.