Women’s Leadership in Sport – Meet Grace Lee

Twenty-two year old Grace Lee is extremely passionate about the sport of cricket. Grace’s first playing experience was in the junior boy’s competition at the age of 11. Grace played with/against the boys throughout all her junior playing years and progressed onto the men’s senior competitions. At the age of 14 Grace was selected to play regional cricket for the Western Waves and was a part of the winning state championship team in the 2013/14 season. She was also selected to travel internationally to Japan and Samoa to play in the East Asia Pacific International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup in both 2014 and 2016. Grace is still competing in cricket at a high level, playing for Essendon Maribyrnong Park Ladies Cricket Club in the Women’s Premier League. In addition to her playing success, Grace has also taken on many coaching and development roles within the sport at the local, regional and state level.

Once Grace become too old to play for the Western Waves, she applied and was successful in obtaining the team manager position for the Under 14’s side. She fulfilled this role for a number of years and progressed onto becoming the Female Development Officer for the teams, and more recently, the coach of the Under 14 female squad. Due to her recognised enthusiasm and commitment to the sport, Grace accepted the invitation to become the female delegate for the Regional Cricket Board. Grace also accepted the invitation to become a part of the leadership team for the ‘Cricket Without Boarders’ program. This program aims to promote and develop the game of cricket for young women in the spirit of sportsmanship, friendship, cultural diversity and fun through providing a number of participation opportunities to youth/adolescents. Grace’s leadership roles within the sport do not finish there, as she has also taken on coaching roles of within local secondary schools and for teams competing in the South West Cricket Association.

From a young age Grace learnt that the cricket was male dominated sport, and states that being female (and therefore a minority) has both positive and negative aspects. Grace identified that in the early stages of her leadership positions she was hesitant to share her ideas and opinions. However she believes that by being confident and demonstrating maturity and hard work she has proved herself and now feels that she has gained the respect of her male counterparts. Grace explains “there is nothing better than succeeding or making progress when others do not expect you to”. Growing up playing the sport, Grace highlights that lack of opportunity was a barrier to her continuing in the sport. She explains that playing with the boys and men was quite daunting for many of her peers, requiring a large degree of commitment to continue playing. Grace is thrilled that cricket is now much more prevalent and accessible for girls. She commends the large degree of work that has been put in across an extensive period of time to get female cricket to where it is today, and loves seeing so many young girls reaping the rewards.

Grace explains that “seeing others enjoy their cricket, succeed and getting involved” is what she most enjoys about her leadership roles.  Grace is delighted that “against the odds, we are making progress and proving some people wrong”. Grace encourages all females that are passionate and want to be involved in something to “not let anyone hold you back or tell you that you cannot”. Grace explains that “the only thing stopping you from achieving such goals is your own passion, thoughts and motivation”.