PCA to host #InspireInclusion in Sport event

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Photo Credit: Professional Cricketers’ Association

Conference held at the Kia Oval as part of International Women’s Day celebrations.

The PCA is hosting their International Women’s Day event in collaboration with Surrey CCC and South East Stars at the Kia Oval on Thursday 7 March.

The #InspireInclusion in Sport event aims to embrace and celebrate diversity and inclusivity in the world of sport, whilst supporting International Women’s Day on Friday 8 March.

On the day, attendees will hear from influential voices and internationally renowned female leaders on and off the pitch who have been part of breaking down barriers in women’s sport. This will create an opportunity for passionate sports professionals and enthusiasts to come and hear their inspiring stories.

The panel discussions will promote equity and unity through the power of sport and provide an expert insight into the life of women in sport whilst providing attendees tangible tools to use in their own work and home life.

The first panel discussion, ‘Leadership and Inspiring Future Female Leaders’, will consist of Inclusion and Diversity specialist in Sport Rimla Akhtar OBE, Director of EDI at the PFA Simone Pound, author and pioneer in women’s sport Sue Anstiss MBE and Commonwealth Games Federation CEO Katie Sadleir.

Panel two, ‘Challenges and Allyship’, will be hosted by PCA EDI Director Donna Fraser OBE with expert insight from former England cricketer Fran Wilson, former England rugby player Shaunagh Brown and former Welsh footballer Helen Ward.

Western Storm batter Wilson made her England debut in Sri Lanka in 2010 and went on to make 64 appearances for her country. The 31-year-old retired from England duty in 2021, but is still balancing her playing career whilst working as a personal development officer for Bristol Bears Women’s rugby team.

Harlequins’ star Brown competed at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in the hammer throw before taking up rugby aged 25. The 33-year-old was part of England’s Six Nations Grand Slam wins in 2019 and 2020 and was capped 27 times by her country. She was also nominated for Influencer of Year in 2020 at the Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year Awards for her campaign highlighting black stories on Instagram.

Welsh footballer Ward had a phenomenal international career, appearing 102 times for her country and ending her career as the leading Welsh goal scorer of all time. The 37-year-old was inducted into the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame in September 2023 and is currently the Watford’s general manager.

Emma Calvert, Regional Director of Women’s Cricket for the South East Stars, will be involved throughout the day including hosting a panel discussion as well giving a short talk speaking about the growth of the women’s game and how to break down barriers for women in cricket.

Following the panel discussions, there will be networking opportunities, refreshments and the option of taking part in an introduction to cricket coaching session with world-leading facilities and expert coaching from former England all-rounder Alex Tudor.

In recent years, huge strides have been made in progressing women’s sport across the world. In cricket, the professionalisation of the women’s game in 2021 has made the sport a genuine career option for women’s players. The WPL has increased opportunities for the elite, with England’s own Nat Sciver-Brunt receiving around £320,000 to play for the Mumbai Indians for the three-week tournament. And last year, the ICC announced a commitment to increasing investment in women’s cricket and its development and promotion at all levels.

“This event allows us to celebrate women in sport by inspiring others to understand the importance of women’s inclusion.”

DONNA FRASER – PCA EDI DIRECTOR

Transformative progress is happening at a rapid-pace as player associations and governing bodies work together, including last summer where the ECB announced women’s international players would receive the same match fees as their male counterparts following a phenomenal Ashes series which saw record attendances for women’s cricket in the country, as Heather Knight’s team looked to inspire the next generation.

FIFA has committed to offering equal prize money at the 2026 and 2027 men’s and women’s football World Cups. The United Nations agency for women’s rights worked with FIFA during the last Women’s World Cup to promote gender equality, with messages featuring on captains’ armbands.

In rugby, last year the RFU announced greater and more equitable access to training and development for women and girls coming through the England Rugby pathway. The changes introduced an increase to the number of centres of excellence as part of the RFU’s commitment to accelerating the growth of the women’s game through the Every Rose strategy.

The event aims to equip attendees with information on how to make their own working environments more inclusive and help celebrate diversity through sport.

#InspireInclusion will take place in the 175 Suite at the Kia Oval from 9:30am until 12:30pm with the opportunity to join the coaching session from 12:45pm until 2pm.

This is a free event and available to the public, if you’re interested in this event please email Bee Ford on bee.ford@thepca.co.uk.

PCA Director of EDI, Donna Fraser OBE, said: “The #InspireInclusion in Sport event will showcase some of the fantastic work that is going on in progressing women’s sport around the world in cricket and further afield. In recent years, the PCA has worked with stakeholders and the ECB in fighting for increased permanent contracts to be awarded in the domestic game, whilst striving for higher minimum standards for women’s players.

“There is still a lot of work to be done across sport but this event allows us to celebrate women in sport by inspiring others to understand the importance of women’s inclusion, as we strive for an equitable future.”

Emma Calvert, Regional Director of Women’s Cricket for the South East Stars, said: “We’re proud to be supporting the PCA for the #InspireInclusion in Sport event to celebrate International Women’s Day. The women’s game has come on leaps and bounds in recent years but there are still significant barriers for women and girls within the sport. The event will offer valuable insight from some hugely influential voices within women’s sport and help to drive change to make sport more inclusive and diverse.”

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