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WATCH: How can Jersey clubs inspire a more inclusive environment for women in sport?

WATCH: How can Jersey clubs inspire a more inclusive environment for women in sport?

Friday 08 March 2024

WATCH: How can Jersey clubs inspire a more inclusive environment for women in sport?

Friday 08 March 2024

Female leaders in the local sport scene have called on Jersey clubs to create an “inclusive environment” in which women and girls can participate and excel.

Jersey Cricket’s first female chief executive Sarah Gomersall and Libby Barnett, sports partnership manager at Jersey Sport and coach and player for Jersey Wanderers and the JFA, were speaking on an International Women’s Day special of the Bailiwick Podcast.

The theme of International Women's Day this year is 'Inspiring Inclusion' – ensuring the needs, interests, and aspirations of women and girls are valued and included. And one of the areas of the global campaign is elevating women and girls' participation and achievement in sport.

Video: We thought, what better way to celebrate International Women's Day, than by speaking to Jersey Cricket CEO Sarah Gomersall and Sports Development Manager at Jersey Sport, Libby Barnett?

On the podcast, which is sponsored by Brooks Macdonald, Miss Gomersall said: "People are more engaged by three times if they feel like they're in a welcoming, inclusive environment. It's on all of us to be able to set that up in whatever sport we're in.

"This includes practical things about making it more welcoming, so people know exactly what they're going to experience when they get there.

"A big thing for girls is knowing who's going to be there, ensuring there's a familiar face or a friend.

"We need to be talking to girls to find out what is it that will make it more inclusive for them, and then we can put that in place."

She added that visibility in the sport inspired inclusion, and that the Jersey Women's Cricket Team had been invited to their first televised tournament in December – the European Cricket Championship, which is televised on Sky and YouTube.

She said: "Everybody can see the person that they know, and they aspire to be on TV."

Mss Gomersall continued: "International Women's Day is a vital week, because it's one week out of 52 where people stop and think about women in sport or in their careers and we need to do more of that.

"We're talking about male-dominated, historically male sports, and the more we can get the agenda shifted, and inspire inclusivity, the more we will make progress.

"It's very easy to carry on doing what you've always done, and it's going to take some brave decisions. One of our most successful cricket teams is Old Victorians. That is by its very essence a team from a boys school.

"But we need to get more girls playing. So, at the Old Victorians club, someone brave will need to say: why don't we have a girl's side? And that means changing conversations that have been embedded in tradition for a long time."

Miss Barnett, who is a player, coach, committee member and liaison for Jersey Wanderers FC and the JFA Island Representative side at Muratti and Island Games since 2009, said that inclusion meant "taking down barriers".

These, she continued, could include "financial barriers" such as annual subscriptions or club fees –and she urged more to adopt the hardship fund that some clubs operate.

She said: "This can also mean insufficient facilities. There may not be appropriate, fit-for-purpose facilities, especially in team sports or male-dominated sports.

"At Jersey Wanderers, we went from having one senior women's team to offering junior girls, and our clubhouse is completely not fit for purpose. We have one female toilet and it opens out onto our bar.

"Where the sport has evolved and grown, the facilities or the infrastructure is unable to keep up. We would love to build something that's fit for purpose, we just don't have the finances within the club to do so."


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