Cricket Australia today announced a new $4 million investment to grow female cricket, including a new Growing Cricket for Girls Fund that will help create sustainable girls competitions targeted at girls aged 11 to 18.
The multi-million dollar investment will be allocated on a $1 million per year basis over a four-year period - $500,000 of which will go directly to cricket clubs, associations and secondary schools through the Growing Cricket for Girls Fund.
The additional $500,000 per annum will be used to employ fulltime female participation specialists across the country to provide ongoing support to clubs, associations and secondary schools.
Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland and Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars Holly Ferling and Alyssa Healy joined a group of young female cricketers at the MCG for the announcement today.
Mr Sutherland said: "Girls and women are playing cricket in record numbers and participation growth last summer was fuelled by the incredibly successful launch of the Women's Big Bash League.
"Whilst cricket has had a national female competition for 70 years, we are committed to further investment to grow the female game with the Women's Big Bash League at the forefront. The Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars are the world's number one ranked women's team - and our female cricketers are deservedly the best paid of all women's team sports in our country.
"Our female cricketers are wonderful role models and we are delighted to see their increasing exposure is inspiring more and more girls to play cricket."
Commonwealth Bank Southern Star Alyssa Healy said: "It's exciting to see this new investment in cricket. I know from my own experience of coming through community cricket that dedicated competitions for girls to play against other girls of the same age will have a huge impact on the development of them as cricketers and female cricket in general."
The investment follows in-depth research into female participation commissioned by Cricket Australia and undertaken by Roy Morgan that identified three key pillars of focus:
* Greater availability of local girls competitions with the option of playing girls of similar age and/or ability.
* Associations and clubs actively supporting female competitions.
* Better coaching and facilities at a club and school level.
Through the Growing Cricket for Girls Fund, clubs and secondary schools have access to $2,000 of funding annually, while associations may receive $10,000 over two years.
The Growing Cricket for Girls Fund, a first of its kind by a national sporting body, is a key component of Australian cricket's inclusion and diversity education program, A Sport For All.
The fund and fulltime female participation specialists will be backed up by a local area marketing campaign as well as supporting material for clubs and associations.
The investment in female participation follows a recent payment pool increase for women's cricketers from $2.36 million to $4.23 million, making Australia's leading female cricketers the best paid of any women's team sport in the country.
Applications are open until Sunday, 7 August 2016. Recipients will be announced the week beginning August 15.
For full information, visit http://www.community.cricket.com.au/clubs/a-sport-for-all/growing-cricket-for-girls
Nearly 40% of parents of girls report their daughters being inspired to take up a sport after watching professionals in action.
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