Australian Cricket has released the fourth edition of the Press for Progress report and it is heavily supported by Cricket NSW’s powerful commitment to growing the involvement of women and girls in the sport.

Download the Australian Cricket Press for Progress Report HERE.

The Press for Progress Report reflects Australian Cricket’s commitment to being openly accountable in its progression towards becoming Australia’s leading sport for women and girls.

The 2020-21 season was one of cricket’s most challenging seasons to date with the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic causing disruption across many areas of the game but CNSW still took some significant steps forward in the growth of involvement for women and girls.

Some of the many highlights include:

- More women than ever before appointed to CNSW’s Executive Leadership Team, with five women on the 11-person ELT

- A 27% increase in registered club and Woolworths Cricket Blast participation for women and girls

- The launch of the country’s first ever Female Coaching Internship program and the progression from that program to fulltime Pathway coaching roles at CNSW by Sarah Aley and Hannah Trethewey

- The appointment of Lisa Sthalekar as List Manager for the Sydney Sixers’ WBBL and BBL teams

- Delivery of the entire WBBL tournament in Sydney, with Match Operations and Event Management led predominantly by female staff members

- Gender equity in our Life Member appointments this year, with former NSW Breakers and Australian representative Julie Hayes honoured as the 225th Life Member of Cricket NSW

- Significant on field achievements including Sydney Thunder winning the WBBL and umpire Claire Polosak becoming the first woman to officiate at a men’s Test match after acting as the fourth umpire during the encounter between India and Australia in Sydney

- Ash Gardner, Hannah Darlington and Anika Learoyd taking the field for the Breakers in a WNCL match, marking the first time in Australian domestic cricket history that three indigenous players have played on the same team

That on-field success has continued into the earliest stages of the new season with teenagers Darlington and Stella Campbell debuting for Australia and Polosak appointed to make her women’s Test debut in this week’s Commonwealth Bank Test match between Australia and India on the Gold Coast. The four-day match at Metricon Stadium will see Polosak become the first female Australian umpire to officiate in all three formats of women’s international cricket.

Both the Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunder have assembled strong squads for the Weber WBBL, which will start next month.

Cricket NSW Chief Executive Officer Lee Germon heralded the involvement of women and girls in the game, while acknowledging the importance of transparency and accountability in cricket’s progression towards a gender equal future.

“It’s been a tough 18-months for everyone but Cricket NSW has not only maintained our focus on growing the game for women and girls but enhanced it,” Germon said.

“We are working hard in every area to ensure we inspire everyone to play and love cricket and that is especially true when it comes to making sure more women and girls are picking up a bat and ball.

“We are also continuing to develop our on and off-field female leaders by providing a pathway to inspire and grow.

“Cricket Australia’s Press for Progress report is a great reflection on the work being done in NSW and indeed across the country in this area and holds everyone involved in Australian Cricket accountable to ensuring we continue to aim for gender equity.”

Insights into the 2020-21 Press for Progress report across Cricket Australia’s five pillars – Leadership, Participation, Pathway, Elite and Fans - include:

- There are more women in CEO roles across Australian Cricket with Olivia Thornton (Cricket ACT CEO), Michelle Enright (ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Australia 2022 Local Organising Committee CEO) and Jodie Newton (SACA Acting CEO) joining Christina Matthews (WA Cricket CEO) across the season. Although there has been progression at CEO level, there is still a need to improve leadership and development opportunities for women at an executive and management level.

- Despite the pandemic impacting registered participation due to the cancellation of tournaments and leagues, Australian Cricket saw a 27.4% increase in girls’ participation in Woolworths Cricket Blast, with girls accounting for more than one in five children in the program.

- In a COVID world where many sports were rescheduled, the second standalone Women’s Big Bash League was delivered in full, with the competition holding its place as the fourth most-watched domestic league in Australia.

- The Australian Women’s Team successfully hosted New Zealand, the first cricket team to tour Australia since the start of the pandemic. In return, the team travelled to New Zealand, where they inspired the country by breaking the record for most consecutive ODI wins in the history of the women’s and men’s game.

- While women and girls attendance at women’s internationals and WBBL increased, there was a decrease in women’s attendance at the more crowded men’s matches. This reinforces the importance of understanding the interests of women and girls as sports fans and fans interested in the women’s game.

- With a focus on delivering the international and domestic season, 2020-21 was a challenging year for Australian Cricket’s pathway programs with all underage competitions being postponed.