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    Celebrating women in sport with the Kia Oval and PCA
Celebrating women in sport with the Kia Oval and PCA
Celebrating women in sport with the Kia Oval and PCA. Kia Oval

Celebrating women in sport with the Kia Oval and PCA

The Kia Oval opened its doors to celebrate International Women's Day when the Professional Cricket Association (PCA), in association with Surrey CCC and South East Stars, hosted the #InspireInclusion event in the 175 Suite on March 7.

The event was a day-long celebration of diversity and inclusion in the world of sport. The room was packed with 200 people. Attendees heard from influential voices and internationally renowned female leaders from on and off the pitch who have broken barriers in sport.

The speakers shared their incredible journeys and offered some invaluable insights. The aim was to empower the audience to make their working environments more inclusive.

Donna Fraser OBE, PCA EDI Director, introduced the event. Rob Lynch, PCA Chief Executive, welcomed the audience.

In the first panel of the day, 'Leadership and Inspiring Future Female Leaders', attendees heard from sports inclusion and diversity specialist Rimla Akhtar OBE, PFA EDI Director Simone Pound, author and women's sports pioneer Sue Anstiss MBE and Commonwealth Games Federation CEO Katie Sadleir.

Their discussions promoted equality and unity through the power of sport. They shared how they got into the industry and asked questions about how to inspire the next generation of female leaders coming into the sport.

The second panel, 'Challenges and Allyship', was hosted by Fraser with expert insights from former England cricketer Fran Wilson, former England rugby player Shaunagh Brown and former Welsh footballer Helen Ward. While exploring some of the inequalities they experienced during their incredible careers, their stories were truly inspirational.

Questions ranged from how to be a better ally for women's sport to what advice the panel had for the next generation of athletes. They also explored different forms of leadership and lifting others up.

Following the panel discussions, refreshments and networking opportunities, eager participants took part in an introduction to cricket session. Expert coaching was provided by former England all-rounder and PCA Inclusion Champion Alex Tudor, former England and Kent off-spinner Min Patel and Western Storm's Wilson.

With the former England bowler encouraging everyone to get involved, the session included fielding activities and games before the opportunity to take on Tudor in the nets, fully kitted out.

The narrowing of the equity gap has been demonstrated in recent times by the ECB's equalisation of match fees for men and women players, as well as the professionalisation of women's cricket.

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