We often see inspiring stories of world-class athletes managing their sports careers while bringing life into this world. The viral videos of players bonding with their children make the heart melt on the regular. The knowledge that athletes like Serena Williams achieved great feats even while pregnant is awe-inducing. For women athletes, staying in sports during pregnancy and after childbirth can be daunting. A lack of job security and institutional support makes the challenge insurmountable. Ultimately this causes many capable and brilliant to leave the field. It also adds to why many women are hesitant to join sports. Moreover, why their families are unwilling to support their careers. For men, sports tours, training, and more get in the way of being a present parent and partner when they have a newborn. Although it does not hold them back from a career, it makes them miss out on important moments.
Inclusive and Accommodating New Policy of Pakistan Cricket Board
In light of all this, the Pakistan Cricket Board made an announcement of their Parental Support Policy is a very positive and hopeful step. The policy accommodates pregnant athletes by shifting them to non-playing roles before their maternity leave. It also allows women to take up to 12 months of paid maternity leave with a guarantee of a contract extension. The extension can continue for the following year. The policy also pledges physical and medical support to bring these players back into the sport. Furthermore, they are entitled to bring a support person of choice on tour, to help care for their infant. Male players are entitled to 30 days of paid paternity leave to be taken within 56 days of the birth of their child.
The announcement of this policy is an indication of the PCB’s duty of care to its players. Many women have missed out on following their sports passion due to these hurdles. This incredible policy initiative caters to all genders and promotes women to follow their dreams.
Such policies need to become more common, in other sports, as well as in all fields of work, to allow women to achieve their potential while allowing people to become healthier, happier parents for the future generation.