By Tara Imrie. This interview is part of our March 2013 focus on Sport and Human Rights.
Right Now spoke with Meg Lanning, an Australian Cricketer. She has been in the Australian team since 2011, winning the Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka and 50-over World Cup in India.
Right Now: What inspired you to take up a career in cricket?
Meg Lanning: Growing up as a kid, I played any sport that I could, often playing in the school yard. My first experience playing cricket when I was younger was really fun and I really enjoyed it. I watched it on TV as well and decided that it was something I really wanted to do. It was from a very young age that I became interested in cricket, and it kept going from there.
My first experience playing cricket when I was younger was really fun and I really enjoyed it. I watched it on TV as well and decided that it was something I really wanted to do.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Probably the 50-over World Cup that we won recently in India. I think playing over in India is quite tough. The conditions are quite different and it takes a lot to get used to it. The format of the tournament meant that we had to play all the other nations, so we had to play well throughout the whole tournament. It was quite satisfying to be able to win that one.
Which female sportspeople do you look up to?
I look up to people like Anna Meares who has had a lot of hard time throughout her career. [Anna Meares broke her neck in a cycling accident, but still managed to recover and go to the next Olympics.] I think it hasn’t quite worked out as well as she would have liked. To see people bounce back like that in the public eye – this is the sort of person who I like to look up to.
Women make up just nine per cent of all sports coverage in Australian TV news and current affairs. Why do you think women’s sport doesn’t enjoy broader coverage?
I think that unfortunately women’s sport, especially cricket, just doesn’t bring in the money that men’s sport does. Unless you are doing that, no one is willing to cover the sport because they aren’t getting anything out of it. We are in a cycle where no one wants to start covering women’s sport more. The product of women’s cricket is quite an exciting one and once people actually see the game they will actually quite like it. It’s all about bringing new people to see the game and getting them into it. Hopefully the media and others can take control and start something, and then the ball will keep rolling. This is the same with most women’s sport.
It’s all about bringing new people to see the game and getting them into it. Hopefully the media and others can take control and start something, and then the ball will keep rolling.
What do you see in the future for women’s sport and in particular, women’s cricket?
We don’t expect to be paid the same amount as men do, but just enough to be able to play full time and not have to work.
Hopefully in the next two-five years we will see more women becoming professionals in sport and taking on a more full-time role with cricket instead of juggling uni and full time work as well. That would be a great step for Australian cricket to take. Other nations have already done this. Hopefully this will happen in the next few years. Just like they did for the World Series cricket for men – Kerry Packer started that, and men started to get paid a lot more money. More equality in pay between men and women would be beneficial. We don’t expect to be paid the same amount as men do, but just enough to be able to play full time and not have to work. Certainly an increase in pay would be needed for that to happen. This is a sponsor issue – it is hard to get sponsors for women’s cricket because they don’t draw crowds as big as mens sport does. Hopefully we can get more people involved and then have more sponsors get on board.