Photo Credit: Western Australian Cricket Association
As WA Cricket continues to celebrate Women and Girls Week, we invited some of the State’s cricket leaders to a breakfast during the week to share their experiences.
Guests were welcomed by WA Cricket CEO Christina Matthews, and then listened to a panel featuring WACA Chair Avril Fahey, Head Coach of the WA State and Perth Scorchers women’s teams Becky Grundy, Team Connect founder and Chair of the Community Junior Cricket Council, Margie Oldfield, and Sports Biomechanist Helen Bayne.
Each of these women are leaders in their respective areas and spoke about their experiences, highlights, and challenges being females in leadership positions.
Avril Fahey said she is starting to see real growth in the community cricket sector where women are rising through the ranks.
“I’m really thrilled that we’re now seeing a number of cricket clubs with women presidents and that is fantastic,” she said.
“What I think is going to be a real key of success is when we start to see some of those women who are presidents of their junior clubs become presidents of their associations and then lead an adult club.”
Margie Oldfield feels it is just as important for young boys to see women in leadership positions as it is for young girls.
“The challenge that I have had is needing to fight for my place in the room, but that is not a female’s responsibility, it is a shared responsibility of everyone in the room” she said.
“Girls know that they can be leaders and women know that they have a place in the room, and our responsibility as women leaders is to ensure that boys grow up seeing women in leadership positions, and that is how I think we make change.
Becky Grundy has surrounded herself with some very strong female leaders and says Lisa Keightley’s guidance had a huge influence on her during their time together at WA Cricket.
“Lisa has been a huge mentor for me from a coaching perspective,” she said.
“There are moments in your life that are significant whether they are good or bad and Lisa has always been someone there who has shown up and has been there to help when things aren’t going so well and you’re not winning, or if you are going really well, she’s had that influence.
Becky also spoke about Christina Matthews’ leadership of WA Cricket and how you can’t be afraid to fight for the things that you believe in.
“I think one of the biggest things that I’ve learnt from being a part of this organisation is seeing how Christina operates,” she said.
“Sometimes you have to fight really hard for things you believe in and that can get quite tiring but when you have that real true belief of what’s right and wrong and what your core values are, you find that energy to fight for it.
“I think that is something that we see with Chris day in day out around making sure that we’re creating an inclusive environment, making sure she fights for something that she believes in, and knows that its right, and that no doubt inspires me to make sure that if I do have a voice I try and use it.”
Helen Bayne has a PhD in cricket fast bowling biomechanics and discussed how we can change the perception of our sport to be more relevant and attractive to women and girls.
“Cricket is a technical sport but so are so many others that girls are typically involved in including tennis and gymnastics, so I don’t think that is the primary barrier because anyone who starts a new sport starts without those skills,” she said.
“Girls can learn cricket skills just as well as boys, so we need to provide opportunities facilities, support, and quality of coaching to girls developing at the same age and rate as boys in the junior categories.”