Highlights!, the monthly newsletter from the Sports Law & Policy Centre, brings to you the latest developments from the Equal Hue Project and recent law and policy updates on women’s sport.
In this article, Women’s Big Bash League (“WBBL”) stars, Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana share their views on the need for a full-fledged women’s Indian Premier League (“Women’s IPL“) as opposed to a few exhibition matches during the men’s tournament. They believe that Women’s IPL can add a lot of depth to the women’s cricket structure in the country by operating like a platform that will help current and future players prepare for bigger challenges on the world stage. Deepti Sharma, who played for Sydney Thunder in the 2021 season of WBBL, also emphasised the importance of accelerating the process of introducing the Women’s IPL to enable better grooming of young talents.
Anjum Chopra, former Indian captain, in her chat with Hindustantimes endorsed the same view as that of the current players and believes that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (“BCCI“) can tap into the momentum gained by women’s T20 leagues in other countries. She emphasized that with the proper intent and execution, BCCI can successfully launch a full-fledged Women’s IPL. She also points out that despite franchises in India being interested in Women’s IPL, it is the parent body that needs to lead the way.
The International Handball Federation has recently agreed to amend the uniform guidelines for female athletes in response to months of pressure following the protests by Norway’s national handball team. In this article, Katie Lebel stresses the need for the sports industry to embrace diversity and collaborate with brands to create apparel that caters to all athletes. The article notes that uniform standards need to be re-evaluated in order to encourage girls and women to compete with confidence. The article also discusses the science behind the idea that one can perform well when they feel comfortable, as well as how the change in athletic apparel for women could have a significant impact on competition.
The gender imbalance in chess is not an unknown fact. As of today, there are no active female players in the top 100. Upon being asked why this is so, Magnus Carlsen suggested cultural reasons whereas some others still believe it comes down to genetics, stating that men are hardwired to be better chess players than women (Nigel Short, Vice President of the International Chess Federation (“FIDE“)). Judith Polgar, one of the greatest female chess players who was ranked as high as No. 8 in the world says an early start and encouraging girls to think big are important factors in ensuring better participation. This article also identifies underlying sexism and normalised predatory behaviour in the world of chess as factors contributing to lower female participation in the sport. Despite encouraging signs, Arkady Dvorkovich, the FIDE President believes that more needs to be done to help women progress in chess.
The International Cricket Council has unveiled its latest growth strategy with a view to strengthen and grow the game of cricket on a global scale by making it accessible to more nations. As part of its commitment to ensure that women’s events receive the same prominence and recognition as men’s events, this strategy places women’s cricket at the forefront of the campaign. Accelerating the growth of women’s cricket and delivering 250 million incremental fans of the women’s game by 2032, are among the six ambitions and strategic priority projects of the growth strategy.