The Hundred is a big step towards gender parity in sport
History will be made at The Kia Oval on 21 July, when The Hundred kicks off with a standalone women’s game.
This will be the first time a major team sport competition, which features both male and female teams, has opened with a women’s match; demonstrating that the new competition is here to help drive greater gender-parity in sport.
The historic first game will see Oval Invincibles and Manchester Originals face off in the new fast-paced 100-ball cricket competition. To look ahead to this, a star-studded panel of passionate women’s sport advocates assembled to discuss how the competition can lead the way for gender equality in sport.
The panel event, titled The Hundred: A Catalyst for Gender Parity in Sport, took place at The Kia Oval today and featured The Hundred players Georgia Adams and Issy Wong, Manchester Originals chair and Women in Sport trustee Mark Chapman, Broadcaster and Olympic Gold Medallist Sam Quek, Sky Sports Director of Multi-sports Helen Falkus, and broadcaster Jeanette Kwakye as host.
Commenting on the competition, BBC’s Mark Chapman said: “The Hundred is the first major sport in a long time trying to do something different, and it’s brave. The opportunity of starting something from scratch means you can make important decisions, like equal prize money for the men’s and women’s competitions. You can set your goals from the start and do the right thing for parity.”
The discussion, which also featured a welcome address from The Hundred Managing Director Sanjay Patel, explored a range of gender parity topics; including equality of prize funds and platform, increased broadcast visibility, a ground-breaking change in gender-balanced language and the impact The Hundred will have on future participation across cricket in England and Wales.
Mark continued: “If you get an increase in 200 girls and boys going down to their local cricket club because of the moments they’ve seen in The Hundred, that’s what it’s all about – increases in participation and more people falling in love with cricket.”
Georgia Adams, who will line up for Oval Invincibles on 21 July, said: “To be part of history and play in the inaugural match of The Hundred is going to be a career high. The Hundred is going to be so powerful for changing perceptions. It’s a real positive that we can kick off the competition with a women’s match and I’m sure there’s going to be an electric atmosphere at The Kia Oval when we take to the field – we can’t wait to put on a show.”
Commenting on the impact The Hundred will have on young upcoming talent, 19-year-old Birmingham Phoenix fast bowler Issy Wong said: “The Hundred is a really important development in women’s cricket. It provides a platform for the women’s game that will see young girls up and down the country be inspired by the skill of the players and the talent on show, and hopefully it will help young girls pick up a bat or a ball and give it a go.
“The Hundred is an opportunity to express ourselves as people and cricketers. I have fun playing cricket and that is how I express myself. It’s going to be brilliant.”
Echoing the panel’s opinion on the competition, Sam Quek said: “When I heard about The Hundred – I thought that’s my kind of show. It’s got a real buzz about it and I want to get involved and watch it. I’m excited about the energy and to be able to take my family – it’s going to be a great day, even better if the sun comes out.”
Rounding out the discussion was Helen Falkus of Sky Sports, joint host broadcaster of The Hundred along with the BBC, who commented on the need for the presentation to be captivating to new and existing cricket fans alike. She said: “Accessibility is very important, which is why having every women’s game available to watch is vital. We want people to love it.
“You’re going to see cricket in a new way – it’s going to be bright, loud and entertaining. We want to cut out the complexities that have been a barrier for some people to come into cricket and make people feel like it’s a game for them. Making people feel included is at the forefront of our decision making. There will be something for everyone as they watch our coverage.”