The United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 focuses on achieving gender equality and empowerment for all women and girls. According to the goal, “sport can be a powerful platform for advocacy and awareness-raising for gender equality. It can contribute to abolishing all forms of discrimination against women and girls; human rights-based rules of a sport can help to replace culturally discriminative norms that exclude women and girls from sports.”
The Trinidad and Tobago Women Cricket Association (TTWCA) through the 3rd edition of the Courts Grandslam T20 (December 3rd -13th) is fostering this all-important SDG. This franchise event continues to provide an important platform for the local and regional female to continue demonstrating their shills. Additionally, the franchise event is in line with other global franchise competitions such as the Women's Big Bash League in Australia; the Kia Super League in England and the IPL exhibition matches and the soon be launched ECB 100 for women in 2020.
Each year the opportunity to develop the level of professionalism required increases as the franchise system is becoming more competitive not only with the participation of the top senior West Indies players such as Stefanie Taylor (debut year), Hayley Matthews and Deandra but also among the top local players.
In every franchise event around the world, support from the corporate world is tantamount toward its existence. As such title sponsors Courts Trinidad must be applauded for its continued support of the event by increasing its sponsorship to TT$100,000.00. This is very impressive given the current downturn in the economy and the historical and contemporary challenges women sports experience in attracting sponsorship compare to men's events.
The franchise holders- Trident Sports (Barbados), LCB Contractors and UDECOTT have been on board since the franchise inception and continue to be fully supportive ensuring that players are given the best opportunity to showcase their skills.
The Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs must also be congratulated for supporting the event as it is in keeping with its 'Reign in Pink' programme to get more girls and women physically active and engaging in every aspect of sports.
TTWCA has been leading the development of women's cricket in the region and this franchise event is yet another example. This event is the only of its kind in the region to extend that Cricket West Indies has fully endorsed it. CWI has ensured that all the top regional players are available to ensure that the cricket is of a very competitive level as well as to ensure that sponsors and fans get value for their respective sponsorship and support.
Additionally, as the eliminator and final will be streamed to the global community the reach of the event can result in greater foreign involvement in both players and sponsorship in subsequent editions.
This year's event promises to be ultra-competitive as the top regional players will be seeking to fine-tune their performance in preparation for the upcoming T20 World Cup in February-March 2020 in Australia. Additionally, the event is a forerunner to the start of the local cricket season which bowls off on January 18th/19 with the T10 in both the premiership and championship divisions.
The promotion of gender equality in sport is well underway globally. It may not be happening as fast and widespread as is required but the changes thus far are optimistically progressive. The TTWCA through its planning and organisation and with the support of various stakeholders is gradually planting its seed of change in the sporting landscape in Trinidad and Tobago. It is hoped that the gender winds of change will contribute to reorganising sport, in general, levelling the playing field for athletes as well as in other areas such as coaching, support staff, commentary and leadership.
"I don't feel it is necessary to know exactly what I am. The main interest in life and work is to become someone else that you were not in the beginning." Michel Foucault