Rachel Andrew is one of the leading cricketers in an island nation famous for its stunning beaches. She has scored more runs for the women’s national team than anyone else and averages an impressive 11.50 with the ball.
Cricket is her passion, as it is for many women in Vanuatu – an archipelago across the Coral Sea from Australia, whose population of 307,000 is roughly the same as Nottingham. Its women’s T20 team ranks 28th in the world, making it probably the country’s most successful sporting side.
Despite that, traditional values have created barriers that have prevented many of Vanuatu’s ‘mamas’ from playing sport – but the Vanuatu Cricket Association (VCA) is trying to change that.
“I heard some people saying ‘mamas, they belong in the kitchen, clean the house, looking after the kids’, but no – it’s wrong,” said Andrew.
“We’ve got to help each other and promote gender equality. Let them know they have the right to enjoy themselves out there in sports or any activities.” More
Thirty-five leading sportswomen have joined a charity programme to tackle the lack of diversity across sport.
Footballers Nikita Parris and Caroline Weir and five-time Paralympic champion Hannah Cockcroft are among those who have joined ‘Unlocked’, which has been set up by the Women’s Sport Trust.
The athletes share experiences and work with industry experts to help tackle issues relating to women in sport.
In total, 27 different sports are represented by the group.
“It has been a challenging year for many but as we come out of Covid-19 there is no better time to turbo-charge our effort and continue to unlock the value of women’s sport,” said Tammy Parlour, co-founder of the Women’s Sport Trust.
“We believe the best way to do this is by supporting these elite women and connecting them together.
“Individually they are strong advocates for change but together they are unstoppable.” More
Popular culture is generally associated with youth. But a new Netflix series that has a 49-year-old female lead, fighting the ravages of middle age, is being hailed for putting the spotlight on women’s lifelong battle with their own bodies.
In one scene of Bombay Begums, Rani, played by Bollywood star-turned-filmmaker Pooja Bhatt, abruptly walks out of a board meeting.
While her colleagues try to figure out why, the camera finds her in the bathroom, splashing cold water on her face, trying to dry her armpits under the hand dryer.
“Most people said they thought she was having a heart-attack,” says Namita Bhandare, gender editor for news website Article 14, “but I knew exactly what was happening.”
TV presenter Gabby Logan has encouraged men to be included in the discussion around menopause so they have more of an “understanding” towards women.
The BBC Sport host, 47, told the Women’s Health Going For Goal podcast she had been unprepared for the impact the menopause had on her.
She said: “Men work alongside women, men are married to women, and I think men also need to know what’s going on because we need to have that empathy and understanding of what’s happening to our partners, our friends.”
Logan said “more people are talking about” the effects and stages of the menopause now. More
Marked annually on 8 March, International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity at home, in the workplace and within wider society.
The theme for 2021 is #ChooseToChallenge. We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.