ECB: Jacqueline Williams – ‘You can’t be what you can’t see’

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Photo Credit: ECB

Jamaican umpire Jacqueline Williams stood in the second men’s T20 international between England and West Indies at Grenada.

Jacqueline Williams made history during the second T20 international in Grenada on Thursday when she became the first female umpire to stand in an England Men’s match.

Speaking before the match, which West Indies won by 10 runs, Williams admitted that she hopes her presence can help inspire more women and girls to become umpires.

“When I became an umpire there weren’t any female umpires for me to see,” the 47-year-old Jamaican told Cricket West Indies Media.

“There’s a saying that you can’t be what you can’t see. I’m happy for the opportunities that I have been given so that I can be out there and that females can see me and want to emulate me.

“I’m hoping that in years to come I can watch my TV and say: ‘Yeah I have contributed to those developments.”

The rise of female officials across the world has been notable this year.

Williams was a part of an all-female officiating team at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa at the start of the year.

A panel of 10 umpires and three match officials from seven countries featured at the tournament, including English duo Sue Redfern and Anna Harris.

Redfern’s own trailblazing journey continued this year when she was the first female to umpire on-field in both the Vitality Blast and County Championship.

After officiating the Championship match between Glamorgan and Derbyshire in Cardiff in September, Redfern said: “There is absolutely no reason why females can’t umpire in this environment and I think that’s an important message to send.

“I have to recognise the importance of visibility and the fact people haven’t seen female umpires before in this environment. We know that if we see people who are like us, others can aspire to be.”

Following Redfern’s appointment Australian umpires Claire Polosak and Eloise Sheridan broke new ground when they officiated in the Sheffield Shield for the first time, while New Zealand’s Kim Cotton was in April the first female on-field umpire to officiate a men’s international between two full-member nations when New Zealand beat Sri Lanka in a T20 international at Dunedin.


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