Business management

Women at the wicket: Levelling cricket’s playing field

A number of initiatives are aiming to get girls and women involved in cricket, and it could put them ahead of the game in business, too.

As the England Women cricket team prepare to play the West Indies for a televised five-match Twenty20 series at the end of September, the ECB’s managing director of women’s cricket, Clare Connor, says: “I’ve never felt more confident than this summer about the growing importance of the women’s game and its standing to be treated equally.”

Equal access to cricket is the ambition behind Chance to Shine, a charity that provides state schools with specialist cricket coaches and runs street cricket programmes for young people in urban areas who may not have access to traditional cricket facilities. The grassroots initiative was developed after a Women in Sport report showed that women in senior positions in business credited playing sport in their youth or at university with developing and accelerating their careers. 

Laura Cordingley, CEO of Chance to Shine, says: “We have seen how the power of cricket can support young people to develop the skills that will benefit them throughout their life. The core leadership principles that you can learn, like dealing with setbacks, adapting to changing situations and problem solving, will all stand girls in good stead through their professional lives.”

We have seen how the power of cricket can support young people to develop the skills that will benefit them throughout their life

Laura Cordingley
CEO, Chance to Shine

As a bank that is committed to helping women in business reach their potential, from the Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship to its £1bn commitment to women in business, NatWest is a proud sponsor of Chance to Shine. Its latest research, carried out by the Centre for Sport, Physical Education and Activity Research at Canterbury Christ Church University, highlights the importance of building self-confidence among girls. Julie Baker, head of enterprise and community finance at NatWest, says: “Two key challenges for women considering taking a leadership role at an organisation or starting their own business can be low self-confidence and a lack of relatable role models to look up to. 

“I’m really encouraged to see participation in the Chance to Shine programme has contributed to the girls’ increased feelings of confidence, resilience, creativity and adaptability – all essential skills not only in sport, but for later in life and especially in business and enterprise.”

Ebony Rainford-Brent, the retired England Women international, is a trustee of Chance to Shine, current director of women’s cricket at Surrey CCC, and founder of Surrey’s African-Caribbean Engagement Programme (ACE), which aims to encourage more 11- to 18-year-old girls and boys from the local African Caribbean community into the club's performance pathway. She says: “It’s so important we see continued development of the game at a grass roots level by creating tangible access to cricket for talented young women and girls. We need to create a pathway that gives them access to quality coaching and facilities, as well as creating an environment where they feel nurtured and empowered to reach their full potential.”

Unlocking potential

Ebony Rainford-Brent, Laura Cordingley and Clare Connor will be among the speakers at a NatWest event, Unlocking Potential, taking place via Zoom at 5pm on 1 October 2020. They will be joined by female entrepreneurs including UK Young Entrepreneur of the Year Liv Conlon, founder and CEO of ThePropertyStagers, as they discuss how to equip young girls with leadership skills through playing sport, and how women in business are breaking boundaries.

For further information, or to register your interest, please click here.

This material is published by NatWest Group plc (“NatWest Group”), for information purposes only and should not be regarded as providing any specific advice. Recipients should make their own independent evaluation of this information and no action should be taken, solely relying on it. This material should not be reproduced or disclosed without our consent. It is not intended for distribution in any jurisdiction in which this would be prohibited. Whilst this information is believed to be reliable, it has not been independently verified by NatWest Group and NatWest Group makes no representation or warranty (express or implied) of any kind, as regards the accuracy or completeness of this information, nor does it accept any responsibility or liability for any loss or damage arising in any way from any use made of or reliance placed on, this information. Unless otherwise stated, any views, forecasts, or estimates are solely those of NatWest Group, as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Copyright © NatWest Group. All rights reserved.

scroll to top