WICL: Women’s empowerment through sport
The Women’s International Cricket League (WICL) was founded by former Australian cricketer Lisa Sthalekar and Shaun Martyn. WICL is using the sport as platform to empower woman—and is also working on a T20 platform for women. The duo in conversation with Mithila Mehta
Tell us a little about the core philosophy of WICL?
WICL has a simple philosophy and focus: provide opportunity. We intend to use the power of sport to mobilise and empower individuals, organisations and communities to fulfill their potential. We seek to enhance the value placed on women's sport, initially through cricket, but also more broadly through providing a clear pathway for females to have the opportunity to establish meaningful, professional careers in sport.
How is WICL using cricket as a platform to provide women with opportunity/ empower them?
By creating a real product that is stand alone. We have engaged Masaba Gupta to design for us, creating uniforms in consultation with the players that create their own identity. Partnering with the Edinburgh business School for a full MBA Scholarship, creating the C4L initiative as our major CSR program with the 66 Forty foundation. Building a business model that is different, that highlights the fact that it's a different game in its own right.
Tell me a little about the T20 project you are working on?
It's not an IPL, it's not being played in India. It will be played in other venues around the world hopefully starting in Singapore with 78 of the best players playing in 6 corporate owned teams. Uniforms are designed by Masaba and we have some very new camera technology and innovations.
Do you see sports (beyond cricket) as a major social mobiliser in India in the near future, especially for women, following a similar model as yours?
Yes I do. I think women in sport get the balance right a lot of the time. Many of the female cricketers we work with are highly educated and have professional careers when time permits. It gives them a more well-rounded view. On a broader level sport is about engaging with people regardless of sex, religion, social or financial standing. It's aspirational, healthy and fun. I think without being too general men and women sometimes view sport differently, men often as competition, women more as participation. Both are right. With WICL we view the women we work with as great role models. What they lack is opportunity in their sport and we believe our model will demonstrate that with opportunity great things are possible, not just in sport.
Read more: http://wicl.org/