Australia Women Cricket Team © Getty Images
Australia Women Cricket Team © Getty Images

Cricket Victoria has thrown its support behind a gender-based state government policy set to shake up leadership in sport. The cricket body says it will embrace a government initiative aimed at increasing the number of women in board positions throughout sporting associations and peak bodies. A mandate that women must fill at least 40 per cent of the top leadership positions in sport is part of a series of recommendations made by a special advisory committee on women and girls in sport, which the government is set to adopt. Sports that do not show participation of women in their games, will miss out from government funding. ALSO READ: WICB lauds West Indies women’s captain Stafanie Taylor for accolade at ICC

While several officials did not agree to this agreement to Fairfax Media, Cricket Victoria’s chief executive Tony Dodemaide, showed full support to the plan and has also mentioned he will make some changes in the cricket board as well. With only two women representatives on its nine-person board, Cricket Victoria would have to appoint at least two more female figures to fulfill the funding mandate. “We are already on this path. There is nothing in this proposal that is offensive to us at all,” Dodemaide said. “We understand that women make up 51 per cent of the population and there is a real growth opportunity there.

“We are very much looking forward to seeing the report and the recommendations in full. But in general terms, cricket has been pro-active in looking to increase the prominence of women in sport. We’ve gone from, only a few years ago, having no women on the board to now having two out of nine, and we are looking at more opportunities.” Dodemaide said Cricket Victoria hoped to be one of the leaders. He also mentioned how women cricket is gaining importance and there are women team participating in Big Bash League (BBL), which lays emphasis on domestic cricket. “That is very much increasing women’s participation, exciting young girls to take up the sport and we are very keen to grow the base even more,” Dodemaide said. ALSO READ: ICC Awards 2015: Meg Lanning, Stafanie Taylor Women’s ODI, T20I Cricketers of the Year;

The government is yet to release information on exactly which sporting organisations would need to comply and whether, for instance, AFL clubs would need to meet the gender balance to be eligible for funding. Some sports officials contacted by Fairfax Media on Thursday were supportive of the concept, but expressed private fears that achieving the implementation could be problematic. The time frame for sports to make the transition at board level is reported to be about three years. The government has already said that local sporting clubs will not have to comply. Like Cricket Victoria, the sport’s national peak body, currently has two female executives on its nine-person board. However, funding from the Victorian state government is not a factor for the national body, so the policy will have little impact. ALSO READ: Meg Lanning: Women’s cricket is getting recognition

Cricket Victoria, meanwhile, does benefit from funding the state government, particularly at the game development level. Dodemaide said he expected all sports to have “constitutional factors” to consider and other challenges in making the transition to an increased female presence on their boards. And he agreed that the change would take time.”We’ve got directors that are in place and they have terms,” he said. “Board members are very valuable, so it’s not just a case of saying ‘ok, we’ve got to sack you now’.”