Though women’s cricket in the West Indies has come a long way, more needs to be done to ensure it is seen equal to the men’s game.
So said librarian Margaret Broomes during the Barbados Museum & Historical Society’s lecture entitled Women’s Cricket In The Caribbean on Tuesday night at the Queen’s Park Steel Shed.
“West Indies women’s cricket is still not viewed in the same light and is very much unequal to the men’s game. Cricket in the West Indies is still viewed as a man’s game.
“Women’s cricket is played separate and not seen as West Indies cricket but two separate games,” she said.
During her presentation, which is the sixth in the series of 12, she mentioned that that inequality trickled down from women’s cricket in the 1960s and 1970s when it experienced a lack of funding, poor facilities and very little media coverage.
Broomes explained that some progress was made when the women’s team gained success by capturing the ICC World Twenty20 title in 2016, in the same year in which the men’s and Under-19 teams were successful. These accomplishments resulted in greater media coverage and more women even came out to support the game.
“Surely the structures and programmes put in place helped the women. There is need to continue to build and improve on these structures. . . Fans were given the opportunity to realise that women’s cricket is a serious sport played with talented ladies. There is a need to keep this momentum going for the ladies. The women are now seen as heroes and as a result young girls may be more inclined to choose cricket as their sport,” Broomes said.
However, she mentioned that total equality depended on the realisation by the powers that be that the sport was worthy.
“It depends on the West Indies Cricket Board (now Cricket West Indies) and how they perceive women’s cricket. The men are sponsored; the women are not sponsored. It seems as though the women are a liability to the cricket. They are playing better but they are not being recognised for their efforts only the men.
“The men have been sponsored for many years and up to now the women cannot find a sponsor in the same way . . . . Some of the women also feel because it started as a working class sport was the reason why they weren’t being sponsored because they never had anyone to speak out on their behalf,” said Broomes. (RG)