Jenny Gunn, star of the England Women’s Cricket team visited the University of Northampton on 31 March, to talk to students studying Sports Performance, Development and Management courses.
Students were able to ask Jenny questions about women’s participation in sport and her own personal experiences as a female athlete playing professional sport and representing England.
Jenny began by discussing the commercialisation of sport, namely cricket and how it needs to pushed into the public eye as much as possible to increase popularity. She spoke about the synergy between England crickets current sponsor, Waitrose and discussed their decision to sponsor cricket from elite level all the way down to grass roots.
Jenny then went on the explain the difference in motivation of play between professional men and women’s cricket– specifically how the men’s team play because they are paid good money too, but the women play because of pure enjoyment of the sport. “Anything on top of that, for the women is an extra benefit.” Gunn said.
Second year Sports Marketing Students, asked Jenny her thoughts regarding the need for sportswomen to personally push for more media coverage? Jenny explained that recently more sports journalists are female and that even the male ones are starting to give women’s sport the time of day and that this improvement is growing everyday.
Gunn ended the talk with a personal thought – being that, so many of the UKs sports teams are succeeding, yet not receiving the media coverage they so greatly deserve. Her thoughts were to bring these teams together, to create a marketing strategy that forcefully pushes women’s sporting successes into the public eye.
Student Amy Birkett said: “Being a sports marketing student, I was really excited to discover that we would be receiving a guest lecture from such a well known athlete, but the fact that the main topic of the session was ‘Women in sport’ is what really grabbed me.
“From a young age I have always found it hard to understand why men and women within sport receive such an inequality of recognition from the media, so hearing Jenny talk about how things really are starting to change positively for sportswomen was incredibly encouraging and has made me only more passionate about pushing for equality for women in sport.”
Written by Sports Marketing Student Amy Birkett