Player facilities at sports grounds hosting games at the 2022 Women’s Cricket World Cup are set for a $2 million upgrade.
The work will make changing rooms gender neutral, removing urinals and communal showers and replacing them with individual cubicles and showers with doors.
Sports Minister Grant Robertson said it lifted the grounds to a standard befitting the world’s best players.
“Facilities that are tailored for men are not always right for women, and part of this funding is about changing that, so we are good hosts for the world’s best women’s players in 2022,” he said.
“Gender-neutral facilities are lacking at all levels of the sector and this needs to change to encourage more women and girls to participate in sport.
“As well as providing high-quality and safe facilities for the Cricket World Cup teams, they’ll provide an example of what good inclusivity looks like for everyone using the changing facilities regardless of gender, reducing barriers to participation.”
The Basin Reserve in Wellington was the first of five grounds upgrades, with Seddon Park in Hamilton, Hagley Oval in Christchurch, and University Oval in Dunedin also set to be upgraded.
New Zealand Cricket’s high performance facility at Lincoln is also being upgraded.
Former White Ferns and Wellington Blaze player Liz Green said the upgrade meant the world to female players, who never used to be comfortable in the changing rooms.
“For [young] players, it means that she’s not going to have to rush away to use the showers at home. She’s not going to have to go up and down the stairs to use the general public toilets,” Green said.
“It means that it’s here now. We’re not having to go elsewhere. For me the simple act of putting a door on the showers resonates quite a lot.”
Green said during her playing days she would have to leave the ground to have a shower after the game, and there was only one toilet for the whole team to use, with the bathrooms filled with a large urinal.
She said it was an issue at almost every ground she played at, and she hopes it will not be an issue for younger players coming through in future.