My daughter is a princess. She is also a superhero, a footballer and a damn good tree climber. She can be whatever she wants to be, and whatever she chooses is fine with us. These days, girls have so many more opportunities open to them and much more support in following what were previously male dominated career paths.
On the verge of her third birthday, my daughter has sack loads of energy and loves nothing more than to be running, jumping or dancing around all day. I recently took her and her big brother to a multi-sports afternoon, where they got to try out football, dodgeball, athletics, dancing and archery. They both absolutely loved it, and couldn’t wait to go back again.
I think myself quite fortunate to have grown up and been able to witness some huge changes in society – the internet and smartphones being major ones, but also the rise of England getting good at sport! I can remember the days when we would maybe win one medal at an Olympics, and our football team was nothing to be proud.
When I was at school, UK female sports stars were few and far between. I never had the height (or the grace) to be a gymnast, and I could only dream of being able to run 400m hurdles like Sally Gunnell. I’m not saying that I could have been a top flight sporting superstar, but for me I couldn’t see a career path, aside from being a PE teacher.
Over the years, a lot has changed. We’ve got good at many sports, and women’s sports in particular have become part of the mainstream. The choices are endless, from football to tennis to golf and everything in between. Plus it’s not just for the privileged few, schools and childcare providers really understand the benefits of physical exercise and it forms part of daily schedules (yes, I know it’s not enough, but that’s a whole other post!)
Women’s cricket is no exception to this – did you know that England are the current World Cup champions? A crowd of 25,000 fans watched the final at Lords in 2017 plus an extra 50 million worldwide watching the tournament on TV.
Beware The Vipers!
The Southern Vipers are leading the charge and the team includes players from both the England and New Zealand international teams. They’re part of the Kia Super League series, playing in 20:20 matches against teams from around the country. The Vipers won the title in 2016 and were finalists in 2017.
The team are brilliant role models for girls, as well as smashing the gender stereotypes that still exist in sport.
What’s great is that they’re also a brilliant example for boys too – how better to teach our boys about equality than treating women’s sport in the same regard as men’s?
My five year old son absolutely loved watching the Vipers play in a match, and didn’t bat an eyelid that they were a ladies team.
You can see the Southern Vipers aim for victory again in 2018, with three more matches to play:
11th Aug ~ away against Western Storm in Bristol
14th Aug ~ against Surrey Stars at Hove
18th Aug ~ home against Lancashire Thunder at the Ageas Bowl (Southampton)