In Defence of my Wing Attack

I tweeted this.


Twitter doesn’t give the opportunity to form a full argument, so here goes.

Netball is the number one team sport played by women and girls, 1.7 million children play in school and over 180,000 play weekly (https://www.englandnetball.co.uk/partners/)

Having searched the England Netball website I could not find any information about male netball – there is clearly, and IMHO rightly, a focus on their core audience of women and girls.

The netball superleague website shows there are 5 male umpires on the panel (http://www.netballsl.com/competition/umpires/)

My query is two fold:
(a) What message does this send to the core audience?
The NGB has a focus upon women and girls as participants, yet 25% of the top officials in the flagship competition are male. This female bastion that is netball strikes me as the perfect environment in which to positively discriminate to ensure that all the key roles are filled by women. After all, we all know that #thisgirlcan.  (as a side note I’m genuinely interested in how the top male umpires came to be so)

(b) Is this a concerted effort at gender equality?
If it is, it’s clearly working and their methods should be rolled out to other NGBs. Imagine if 25% Premier League football referees were female, or a quarter of first class cricket umpires were women.  There is certainly no proper reason why this should not be the case.

So, I don’t know whether to salute or condemn.  I’ve just watched the Commonwealth Games final (and well done to the England Roses), again with a male umpire and have seen this note online

Perhaps netball is ahead of the game?

About the Author: Stephen Pritchard

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