Cricket culture has changed in terms of diversity - Ebony Rainford-Brent
By Dev Trehan
Last Updated: 25/01/17 4:55pm
Trailblazing former England all-rounder Ebony Rainford-Brent believes cricket has made significant progress with respect to boardroom diversity.
Rainford-Brent - part of the Women’s World Cup-winning side in 2009 - was the first black female to represent England at international level and has since forged a successful career as a cricket broadcaster.
And the 33-year-old, who combines media work with her role as director of women’s cricket at Surrey, says she has seen a marked change in attitudes towards diversity in recent years.
“I’ve been in my post for two years now after becoming the first black female to enter the boardroom at Surrey,” Rainford-Brent told Sky Sports.
“It’s certainly not something I set out to do. Even after 20 years playing at Surrey and captaining the county it was not an aspirational role I saw for myself.
“I was fortunate that I was surrounded by good people, and it was the chairman and chief executive who told me I had the skillset for the job and encouraged me along the way.
“I’ve always encountered lovely people in the boardroom but I’m often the only female or person from an ethnic minority in the room. I’d like to see that change, but the good thing is that BAME representation and female representation is now on the agenda [in cricket] compared to say five years ago.
“There is definitely a change in culture at the top level and I think it’s now about getting the right people in those positions to drive things forward.”
Rainford-Brent is also an ambassador for the inclusion charity Sporting Equals, a role which she says allows her to share her experience to try and help “engage and inspire” more people from ethnic minorities to participate in sport.
“Ebony is one of very few role models in terms of a BAME female in a boardroom role and we need a lot more,” Sporting Equals CEO Arun Kang said.
“We don’t believe in targets or quotas and it’s not about having a tokenistic black person or female in the boardroom, we just want the right person for the job.
“But people from diverse backgrounds must also be given an opportunity to show how good they are and that’s why people like Ebony – whose appointment has been a success - are so important.”