‘Important that people see women in different roles throughout’ - Sue Redfern on becoming first female umpire to officiate in T20 Blast clash

Sue Redfern will officiate the match between Gloucestershire and Middlesex at the County Ground in Bristol on Sunday, June 4.

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Sue Redfern
Sue Redfern. (Photo by Jan Kruger-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

Former England cricketer Sue Redfern is all set to take her next stride in her umpiring career, as she will be the first woman to officiate a T20 Blast match between Gloucestershire and Middlesex at the County Ground in Bristol, on Sunday, June 4.

Standing alongside fellow umpire Ian Blackwell for the clash in Bristol, Redfern expressed her delight on receiving the opportunity. She further emphasized the importance for people to take heed of women in different roles, which includes men’s cricket.

"This Blast debut is important because a lot of people know me as a female umpire in women's cricket and yes, whilst that is really important and I hold that dear to my heart and I'm very lucky to be given the opportunity to umpire in World Cups and international women's cricket, it's so important that people see women in different roles throughout, in men's cricket as well," Redfern told ESPNcricinfo.

"It's about providing female umpires with steps in where they want to progress, not just in women's cricket but in men's cricket, like myself. I want to umpire for women's and men's games. One isn't better than the other. It's about different challenges, it's about different opportunities across those pathways," she added.

Shouldn't be stereotyping women into women's cricket: Redfern

The former English cricketer, who is now a regular official on the international women's circuit, etched her name in history in 2021 when she became the first woman to officiate an international match. Redfern was the fourth umpire in England's first T20I against Sri Lanka. She further reiterated working towards skill sets instead of stereotyping women on the field. 

"Every umpire that progresses has to work hard. We shouldn't be stereotyping women into women's cricket, men into men's cricket. It should be about what skill sets are needed for this game of cricket, who has got those skill sets, and we need to remove any bias that there might be across the pathways," said Redfern.

Furthermore, she pointed out the fact that equal and fair opportunities and having performance as the parameter should be the way forward as the game evolves ahead. Moreover, these chances to grow as a professional should be there irrespective of gender bias.

"Your performances will dictate the next opportunity which you get and the key thing here is making sure that there's no bias in selection and there are opportunities whether you're male or female and it is based on performance," she concluded.

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