Dr. Jim Lusted (University of Northampton) and Dr. Beth Fielding-Lloyd
Managing Sport and Leisure
In 1998, the Women’s Cricket Association merged with the England and Wales Cricket Board, a move influenced by financial difficulties but also informed by a liberal, equal opportunities approach to gender equality. This article examines the early impact of this merger on the development of women’s recreational cricket in England. It draws upon data collected from six semi-structured interviews with key personnel involved in women’s cricket at two County Cricket Boards. Findings suggest that since the merger the development of the women’s game has been limited because it has been left to “compete” for resources with the existing well-established and male-dominated clubs. Access to facilities, club infrastructure, workforce and decision-making positions remain protected by male participants and clubs. Adopting a critical feminist position, we argue that this liberal “absorption” approach to gender equality has done little to challenge the structural arrangements of recreational cricket that continue to protect and prioritise male interests.