Thursday 25 June 2009

Empower women, not Npower Girls

The brilliance of women’s cricket in England has brought them success and respect, so why does Npower insist on reducing women to sexed-up props?

England now hold the World Cup, the Twenty20 World Cup and The Ashes. They are the best women’s sports team on the planet, and in Clare Taylor, have the finest batswoman in the world.

Even the mainstream sports pages brim with praise: Michael Atherton writing, “Women's cricket in England is an outstanding success story. It shows what can be achieved when a governing body matches rhetoric with funding and when a bunch of talented individuals place the pursuit of excellence at the heart of everything they do.”

So why can’t we extend this respect from the field to the presentation ceremonies?

There can be few more unedifying spectacles than, just hours after the women’s victory, the presentation ceremony of the men's world cup. Giles Clarke and ICC president Haroon Lorgat, introduced by name and applauded, joined a stage where two anonymous women were paraded as Npower’s furniture. While the players dutiful shook hands with administrators, the ‘Npower Girls’ stood by unacknowledged and non-existent.

Standards and attitudes to women in cricket have progressed, it is high time the sponsors caught up.

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