Monday, July 25, 2011


Great result in the Test match today. I am exceptionally impressed with England as a team, and an excellent result for test cricket generally, too.

I was at Lords on Day 1, Thursday, with my Dad, sporting my England women's shirt and an umbrella, and eating my sausage and egg roll with relish. I love Lord's, just being there, even if it chucks it down with rain, as it did from about 4pm. It's the atmosphere; probably something to do with the historian lurking within me feeding off the many years of history contained at this very special ground.

Perhaps because I am now starting to analyse things more often with my 'feminist sports historian' hat, however, something did strike me rather forcefully. This was that, at a rough ratio, men outnumbered women by something like 10 to 1 in the crowd. In my section of the crowd, I appeared to be the only female present aged under thirty-five.

I wonder if this is a typical ratio at cricket matches in England. Or is it something to do with Lord's, a ground which did not allow women to play there until 1976; home of the MCC, a club that only voted to admit female members in 1998? (A ground I also love, and can't understand why anyone else would NOT love, but hey, it's worth asking the question...)

I'd be very interested in statistical data on this, if it's available; I'm sure it would bring out some of the points in my wider research about cricketing spaces being defined as masculine spaces. It strikes me that this is probably the case for many other sports as well - in particular I can't see it NOT being true for football, I'll be honest.

It does seem that if we're trying to make some kind of progress for sportswomen, for female cricketers, for women in society generally, this is a really central issue. Sports grounds shouldn't remain as some kind of pocket of masculinity, but we should be seeking to actively redefine them as gender-neutral spaces and encouraging women to attend cricket (etc) matches. ESPECIALLY when what's being played is the kind of cricket we saw today, yesterday and the day before which couldn't possibly fail to hold anyone's attention, male, female or any other category you care to mention.

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