While some women prepared to battle it out on the pitch in the Women’s Ashes, others were talking about the battle they had getting a seat at the table.
A breakfast event held during the Women’s Ashes drew professional female cricketers and business leaders from Canberra to discuss the state of the sport in Australia, and professional female sport more generally.
‘The Women in Leadership Breakfast’ was the brainchild of Cricket ACT CEO Olivia Thornton, who is passionate about bridging the gap in women’s sport.
“All cricket is important, but women’s cricket, in particular, could benefit from more investment,” Ms Thornton said.
“I would like to see more playing opportunities at a domestic female level.”
Supported by local law firm Snedden Hall & Gallop, Cricket ACT and the ACA, the event was attended by local business leaders, professional female cricketers and representatives of other sporting codes across the Territory.
“The biggest goal was just to bring people together, especially at this time,” Ms Thornton said.
Guests heard from female cricketers with experience in the evolving female elite sports landscape and a panel of influential leaders and the stories behind their success.
“The objective of the morning was to connect our sporting and business leaders and discover how the two industries can better work together for their collective benefit.”
The panel consisted of Canberra Women in Business president Sheena Ireland, former Australian Women’s Cricket Team captain Raelee Thompson, former NSW cricketer and former executive director of the Bradman Museum Rina Hore, and independent candidate for the Senate, Professor Kim Rubenstein.
Panellists noted the significant shift in perceptions of female sport over the past decade and sport in general, away from being as male-dominated as it once was.
“They also identified areas for change and improvement and how women’s sport can continue to attract and retain commercial support, as well as benefits to the organisations investing in this area,” Ms Thornton said.
Master of ceremonies for the occasion was local comedian and journalist Chris Ryan.
“We want people to walk out the door and continue the conversation, but with a smile on their face,” she said.
Snedden Hall & Gallop managing director Richard Faulks said events like this highlight the importance of leadership roles for women.
“This will help to bring the spotlight onto how all sections of our business community must work to address what has been an inequity in leadership for women. We are very proud to support such action.”
Ms Thornton expressed her appreciation for the work of Snedden Hall & Gallop and other partners who have helped to forge modern play.
“Cricket wouldn’t be the way it is today without the support of the local community,” she said.