Women do not deserve to be treated as second-class citizens
In lining up against Australia, South African women also became the first South African senior team to get to any Cricket World Cup final.
Proteas women’s captain Sune Luus talks to the media after the T20 World Cup final. Picture: Jan Kruger-ICC/ICC via Getty Images
The “Barmy Army” of English cricket followers was born at a time when their national team was taking stick from just about everybody… and the supposition was that anybody still cheering for the country would have to be “barmy” (mad).
Nobody, outside of the fanatically loyal, would cheer on a defeat, surely? So, why then, was the South African women’s Proteas cricket team given such rousing applause after they lost in the final of the Women’s Twenty20 World Cup against Australia on Sunday afternoon?
For a start, the loss was anything but a hiding, with the Proteas going down by 19 runs against a team which has dominated women’s cricket in all forms for the past 14 years.
Just to get to the pitch at Newlands, the South African women had to defeat the second-best team in the world, England. And any win against England is a good one.
In lining up against Australia, they also became the first South African senior team to get to any Cricket World Cup final.
It would be clichéd to talk about the Cinderella fairy “rags to riches” tale of women’s cricket, especially over the past three years, when the Proteas have looked lacklustre on many occasions. Yet, that is just what it was.
International commentators at the tournament were gobsmacked by the improvement in our women’s cricket. This is all something to celebrate at time when there is little to cheer about in South Africa.
The packed Newlands stadium showed that women’s sport has come of age and no longer has to lurk in the shadows. And, if you entertain us as well as the men, you should be paid the same.
The broader lesson for the whole country is that women do not deserve to be treated as second-class citizens – on the pitch or anywhere else.