Current and former members of the Australian Women’s Cricket team have partnered with UNICEF to support the ‘For Every Girl’ campaign to empower girls through sport and build equality in communities.
Current batswoman Rachael Haynes and former team member and bowler Alex Blackwell, both former Captains of the team, have been named the Partnership Ambassadors for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020, which begins this Friday night.
Sport can break down barriers, promote participation, alter attitudes and include the excluded – on and off the field. Through #cricket programs around the world, @UNICEF brings #children together to create a more cohesive next generation. #ChildRights https://t.co/8snKvUExCi
— UNICEF Australia (@unicefaustralia) February 14, 2020
UNICEF plans to raise funds for sports development projects in Sri Lanka, supplying sports equipment and develop skills in collaboration, leadership and team-building while promoting more girls to play cricket. The ICC’s ‘Cricket For Good Program’ will work alongside the global charity, which operates across more then 190 countries world-wide.
There promises to be some eye-catching celebrations throughout the #T20WorldCup
Which player are you most excited to see? pic.twitter.com/sVG2J3XhcA
— T20 World Cup (@T20WorldCup) February 17, 2020
UNICEF assigned a special reporter to interview the two Partnership Ambassadors on queries surrounding their careers as female cricketers and get their views on why more girls need to play cricket.
Gemma, at just 11 years old, asked some very interesting questions, encouraging insightful comments and responses from both Blackwell and Haynes.
“Cricket doesn’t require any certain body type. Anyone can play,” Blackwell said. “If you’re tall, you’re short, you’re fast, you’re slow, it doesn’t really matter, you can find a place in a cricket team.”
Fellow Ambassador Haynes used the opportunity in the interview to highlight the barriers many girls face as they try to get into male-dominated sports and reflected on her experience as the only girl in an all boys cricket team.
“When I first started playing I played in the under 12 boys team, so I used to be the only girl in that competition. I’d be this little girl walking out in this big helmet and all the gear on and I’d quite often have boys walk up to me and ask if I was a girl, which I confirmed I was.”
A bit of cricketing folklore. Growing up I heard plenty of stories about this match but never saw the vision until this morning. Enjoyed reliving this amazing part of our history. It’s the courage of past generations that have paved the way for our sport. Thanks Zoe https://t.co/oFkasBjpEZ
— Rachael Haynes (@RachaelHaynes) December 18, 2019
The theme of inclusion and equality is carried on through UNICEF’s work in highlighting the importance of supporting girls’ empowerment in a diverse range of strategies.
“UNICEF does great work improving the lives of children all around the world,” Blackwell said. “ Especially children who are more disadvantaged perhaps than I was as a child. I really believe that young kids everywhere should have an opportunity to play sport and I’m really excited to see the programme that UNICEF are doing in Sri Lanka.”
The ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 takes place across two weeks, starting this Friday, culminating on March 8th, coinciding with International Women’s Day, where UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Katy Perry will perform at the MCG.