Evolution of Women's Cricket

Evolution of Women's Cricket Exhibition / MCC Museum

Evolution of Women’s Cricket is the first major exhibition on the women’s game. It traces the development of women’s cricket from its burlesque beginnings in the 18th century to a pioneering professional sport.

This landmark exhibition exposes old attitudes and showcases original material from the newly acquired WAC archive, as well as rarely seen items from private institutions and personal collections.

Cricket has traditionally been seen as a male sport, despite the fact that women have played the game for just as long as men. In 1963, England captain Len Hutton famously said during a charity match against a women’s side that women playing cricket was “absurd, like a man trying to knit”. The women went on to win the match. Views like Hutton’s were common, which has meant that women have often been absent from official histories of the game.

This exhibition aims to help correct that absence by documenting some of the many examples of
women’s contribution to cricket, and by tracking the history of their participation.

It’s impossible to highlight all of women’s achievements in cricket through one exhibition. There are many gaps here, such as the lack of non-white women. This is obviously problematic, and reflects that women’s cricket in England has historically been a white and middle-class sport, though globally there has been more diversity.

There’s still a long way to go before women’s cricket can be seen to be on an equal footing with the men’s game. Women’s cricket still receives less media coverage, the England players are paid less than the England men’s team, and men hugely outnumber women in umpiring, coaching and governance roles.

This exhibition celebrates that women have accomplished a great deal since the first recorded women’s match in 1745. It is hoped that making the history of women’s cricket more visible will help pave the way to a brighter future for the sport.

Curated by Charlotte Goodhew

Charlotte is committed to equality, diversity and access to heritage and sport for all. She is an access champion from MCC and set-up the MCC Heritage Diversity Drive. Evolution of Women’s Cricket is the starting point for making MCC Collections more representative and complete, by showcasing stories from all backgrounds and levels of the game, as well as through professional and social narratives. Future planned exhibitions include Hidden Histories and Sounds of Cricket. MCC is open to loans and collaborations, as well as research projects and co-curation initiatives. For further information contact library@mcc.org.

The exhibition runs July 2021 until March 2023

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