Parry: Success breeds spotlight in women's sport

Shannon  Parry Profile
by Shannon Parry

Australia’s Southern Stars recently attempted to embark on an unprecedented feat – a fourth WT20 World Cup

They fell just short of the West Indies in the final despite putting in a gallant effort in the decider.

Australia has been the dominant force in World T20 cricket in recent years but history means nothing in sporting terms.

The Southern Stars garnered plenty of media attention during the tournament, a spotlight that only intensified once their male counterparts were knocked out before the semifinals.

Australia’s female cricketers are in many senses trailblazers for female sporting publicity but even they have to rely on the absence of men to take centre stage, despite their unrivalled record.

Are our women in rugby on the path to getting the coverage they deserve on a regular basis?

Cricket’s path is not that dissimilar to our Australian Women’s Rugby Sevens team, which turned professional two and a half years ago with its inclusion in the Olympics.

Governing bodies are beginning to get behind their women’s teams and we have been grateful with the support the ARU has shown to us.

Making a bid for Women at the Sydney Sevens 2017. Photo: ARU Media/Stuart WarmsleyBidding for a joint home Sevens tournament in 2017 and centralizing a professional program in Sydney has been invaluable for us.

Our results since then have hopefully repaid that faith and shown the importance of giving women the same opportunities as men.

That we are able to focus entirely on playing rugby and not have to fit it in between another full-time job means that we can devote our whole selves to it.

Off the field, our team is closer than ever because we spend all our time together rather than pulling players in from across the nation for each tournament.

It has taken all these developments and some sustained success for us and the Southern Stars to gain the respect we deserve.

It is unfortunate that it takes such a long time to generate that publicity and that it is almost entirely tied to performance.


Women are finally starting to see the rewards from their governing bodies, with cricket players among the highest paid in the world.

They outperform the men and are being recognized for that, but still play second fiddle in the media landscape.

Our side has won three tournaments in a row and are considered a medal chance.

We can feel the buzz growing around us and hopefully our success and that of our counterparts in other sports can lead to more coverage across media outlets across the country.

Shannon Parry is a Wallaroo and Australian Women's Sevens player from Queensland, with a Bachelor in Education from Griffith University, Brisbane.

The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the ARU.