TAKING TO THE FIELD: INSIGHTS INTO THE EXPERIENCES OF ELITE FEMALE CRICKETERS PLAYING A PREDOMINANTLY MALE SPORT
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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In 2013 Duncan noted that "women have been kept beyond the boundary" for too long and that "[N]ot enough has been written about women’s cricket" (p.1). Existing literature has focused on the technical and tactical aspects of men’s cricket, injury prevention and the impact of globalisation and commercialisation on the game (Bartlett et al, 1996; 2000; Stuelcken et al, 2005; Wagg, 2005; Wormgoor et al, 2010; Portus et al, 2011; Worthingtona et al, 2013; Spratford and Hicks, 2014). Within the existing, limited, body of literature on women’s cricket (Burroughs et al, 1995; Mani, 2009; Velija, 2008; Velija and Malcolm, 2009; Velija, 2011, 2012; Duncan, 2013 ECB, 2013) there’s a scarcity of sociological analysis of women’s experiences in the UK, particularly women playing at an elite level. In an attempt to address this gap in the literature, this study examines the experiences of top-level female cricketers. Drawing on semi-structured interviews of four female players, this study discussed the presence and impact of negative ideologies and stereotypes despite the apparent acceptance of women in cricket. The findings suggest that women’s cricket has come along way in challenging the dominant perceptions and exclusion of women from the game. Nonetheless, these women highlight a number of concerns. Firstly, these women have all experience some level of hostility regarding their participation within the sport. Secondly, they still feel that they had to prove they were good enough to be competing on the same level as men and "earn respect" as a player. Finally, they found that their 'acceptance' into the sport was policed by existing male perceptions of playing ability. While acknowledging how far the women’s game has come, these finding highlight how there are still incident of negative ideologies, stereotypes and concerns about femininity that are limiting the women’s game. Female cricketers are continuing to challenge these but more research into the perceptions and experiences of female cricketers would be beneficial for greater understanding of their success around the UK.
DEGREE OF BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (HONOURS) SPORT AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION
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