England’s women won the World Twenty20 at Lord’s this morning, with Claire Taylor – Wisden’s first female cricketer of the year – scoring the runs to secure the victory.
They add the World Twenty20 title to the World Cup they already have, and they are also the holders of the Ashes.
When the men’s team regained the Ashes in 2005, captain Michael Vaughan was awarded an OBE, while the rest of the squad got MBEs, regardless of their contributions.
Yet for the women, only captain Charlotte Edwards has so far been recognised for her efforts. She got an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours (and, incidentally, was soundly patronised on Sky News, who concluded their interview with her by asking if she was going to go shopping for a pretty new dress to wear. I’m fairly sure nobody asked Michael Vaughan about his sartorial choices when he got his gong).
The rest of the side haven’t yet had any recognition for their fantastic achievements – and make no mistake, these are achievements that deserve to be lauded, regardless of one’s feelings about the monarch-led honours list or international sport. With the support of the ECB, who now have their first female advisors on their board, this is a professionally-run set-up, and the work has paid off – these women are fine ambassadors for the sport as well as role models, and are the very best in the world at what they do.
Women’s sport is often under-reported or even ignored, and this is the time to redress the balance, as the ECB have started to do so commendably. Their achievements have surpassed their male counterparts – they at least deserve parity of recognition.
So how can we frustrated cricket fans do that? “Civilians” can nominate people for honours – click here to go through to the website, which contains information as well as the necessary forms. I’ve also submitted an e-petition to the 10 Downing Street website – as soon as it’s approved, I’ll place the link here so that you can add your name if you wish.