Vanessa Picker, who successfully influenced MCC to host the Varsity Women’s prime match in the main square (Lord’s cricket ground) this year, has revealed her plans to launch legal proceedings against Oxford University (OU) and Oxford University Cricket Club (OUCC) for the discriminations she faced on the course of the campaign.
During an exclusive interview with The Cricketer, Picker said that she would launch legal charges against OU and OUCC and said that she has aimed a petition at “sponsors, partners and suppliers of major UK cricket grounds” aiming to persuade the grounds to support gender equality.
However, in case of non-compliance, she called on the sponsors to “support a boycott” and direct their funds toward any other organization or activity that would bat for better inclusivity in cricket. The petition which is being sent to around 200 sponsors, requests them to convince the grounds to adhere to certain commitments.
Some of them include hosting an equal number of double headers for both genders, improving gender representation in the workforce, setting out a specific framework for improving women’s cricket etc.
“While we were delighted to see the women’s varsity match played on the main square at Lord’s, it wasn’t the victory it may have seemed. For one thing, the presentation afterwards was very much focused on the history of the men’s Varsity match, with not a single woman being given the opportunity to speak,” Picker said in the interview.
“Earlier in the year, the MCC had announced that they would not be hosting any future varsity matches – men’s or women’s – at Lord’s. That felt punitive; almost as if we were being reminded that, if women speak up, there will be trouble,” she added.
We have frequently discussed it: OUCC vice-chair Claire Taylor
However, the OUCC vice-chairman Claire Taylor said that they have always been in support of women’s cricket and gender equality. Further, the vice-chairman said they have already communicated twice with Picker this year in reply to her allegations.
“OUCC is absolutely committed to gender equality and to promoting women’s cricket at Oxford. We merged the men’s and women’s clubs in 2019 for this expressed purpose, and have frequently discussed how best to achieve this goal,” Taylor said to The Cricketer.
“OUCC does not recognise or accept the allegations of hostility, discrimination or other inappropriate behaviour. We have taken Miss Picker’s allegations very seriously and have asked her twice since January to set out the basis for her claims so that we can respond substantively,” said the vice-chair further.