FICA (Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations) released the second edition of their Women’s Global Employment Report this month. Come to read insights on the state of the global game in 2018/19, stay for the really clever graphics, and leave with a sense of urgency cloaked in cautious optimism.
The FICA report echoes several of the concerns and suggestions raised in the Equal Hue report as well, but it does so on a global scale.
There’s plenty to take away. Hypocaust has a good summary in this Twitter thread.
Well worth taking the time to read FICA's Women's Global Employment report 2020.— hypocaust (@_hypocaust) January 12, 2021
The report covers the 2018-2019 period, and lays bare the scale of the challenges at hand even before COVID-19 struck.https://t.co/veD7waOYxH
Some other points that resonated with us:
Development through a gender equity lens
The FICA report puts gender equity principles at the heart of its pathway for development of women’s cricket.
In order to be the ‘best players they can be’ we know that players, as with employees in other industries, require strong levels of financial security and emotional wellbeing. Addressing the historical underinvestment in the women’s game compared to the men’s, and embedding gender equity principles in the game from the top down and across countries is also central to achieving this ambition.FICA
That’s gender equity rather than gender equality. Equality means all people have the same access to opportunities, resources and rewards whatever their gender is, i.e. nobody will be disciminated based on gender. Equity is a process, the means to equality; it is about being fair, even if it means you’ve to treat men and women differently, given their different needs and circumstances and the historical discrimination faced by women.
As we say on the Equal Hue project, the thinking should be: Equal but different.
For example, men and women may get the same match fees, which makes them ‘equal’ in this regard, but if men play 100 matches and the women just 30 in a year, things aren’t really fair for women. There is no gender equity in this situation.
Back to FICA and the report, most players feel that “improvements to remuneration, facilities and coaching are needed [for] them to experience the same level of opportunity as their male counterparts”. But to address this, FICA aren’t calling for things like equal pay (at least not right away), but do stress on ensuring fairness in the treatment of women when it comes to access to reources and investment. They have set a framework for gender equity by defining the value of women’s cricket on the basis of “time, effort, commercial value and social license to operate that recognises the historical underinvestment in women’s cricket”.
Among their recommendations:
Urgently convene a dedicated global multi-stakeholder expert group at ICC level, including FICA, to develop and publish step plans for achieving gender equity at global level and across countries, and track progress against them.
There’s also this very handy explanation of all the things that aren’t gender equitable.
Related point to note: While this is a progressive position, Raf Nicholson of CricketHER argues that by asking for pay parity rather than pay equality ie for women to get at least 30% of what the men are earning, rather than for the contracts to be equal, FICA are in fact not being radical enough. She discusses this with Tom Moffat, FICA CEO, and the entire interview is worth listening to.
She also asks him why they haven’t advocated for more Test cricket for women, given that the absence of women’s Tests is another example of inequality.
As per the report, over half the players do not think women’s players in their country have a clear say on issues within the game. And a quarter have felt bullied or intimidated by their employer.
This is a reminder that:
- Such reports, which allow players a voice, are vital.
- We need more women in governance positions. (The report says 20% of board members worldwide are female. It’s unclear if they mean 20% of the overall number or on average on each national board; I’d guess the first.)
As for what the players want, themes that kept coming up (which again reflect what the Equal Hue surveys show):
- Poor remuneration and inadequate contracts – “Pursuing a full-time career in women’s cricket remains a privilege afforded to very few, as a result of the lack of stable, long-term contracts.”
- Lack of clear pathways – “Providing an aspirational career path for more young girls in more countries must be the game’s aim.”
- Unequal commitment and investment from different countries and within a country, resulting in a national and domestic ability gap; and women’s cricket being seen as a “box-ticking exercise” – “We are not seeing the depth of investment needed to create a sustainable structure for women’s cricket.”
- Lack of minimum standards for player welfare, such as for mental health, safety, contract enforcement, maternity and family care provisions, bullying.