Why does a women's sports team need to be referred to by a nickname, which gives no indication of the country to which it belongs? That's not gender equality, is it?
And that is something which Cricket Australia has realised, and as the first measure, has decided that the women's cricket team would no longer be called 'Southern Stars' as they have been so far in official communication; instead, they would be simply called the Australian women's cricket team, according to a report in ESPNCricinfo.
The members of the country's women's cricket team have for long wondered what the merit was for awarding the team a special name, when the men's team did not warrant any. This decision by CA now places the women cricketers on an equal footing, according to CA chairman David Peever.
The decision was announced at a function in Brisbane to felicitate the Australian teams that won the Women's World Cup in 1978, 1982, 1988, 1997, 2005 and 2013.
"This move may appear symbolic, but it does carry considerable weight," Peever said. "Cricket cannot hope to be a sport for all Australians if it does not recognise the power of words, and the respect for women that sits behind such decisions."
The CA chairman recognised the contribution made by the country's women cricketers, saying that they were "among the very best sportspeople this country has ever produced", while underlining the fact that Australia have clinched six Women's World Cup titles and have won over 87 percent of all the matches they have ever played in. Peever also noted that the current team is No 1 across all formats. He, however, acknowledged the appeal of the 'Southern Stars' brand and noted that the nickname may still be in informal use.
The decision was influenced by the suggestion of prominent businesswoman Ann Sherry at last year's Australian Cricket Conference, revealed Peever.
Australian captain Meg Lanning welcomed the decision. "I think it’s a big step towards gender equality and it’s great that Cricket Australia have recognised that,” she told Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Thursday.
The Australian team under Lanning will leave on Friday for the Women's World Cup, to be held in England between 24 June and 23 July. Australia will play a warm-up match against South Africa on 20 June, before their tournament opener against West Indies on 26 June.