Well, first of all, we've already had an improvement this year on last year, in that every match so far, at least one woman has been present among the first eight. By this time last series, we'd had three all-male line-ups. So it seems TPTB have taken on my suggestion of not putting two all-male teams against each other in the first two rounds, when it is easier to make such arrangements.
Lets break down the teams:
- All male teams: 8, 6 through to second round
- One woman teams: 15, 9 through to second round
- Two woman teams: 4, 1 through to second round
- All woman teams: 1, eliminated
- Overall woman tally: 27
- All male teams: 13, 8 reached second round
- One woman teams: 7, 5 reached second round
- Two woman teams: 6, 2 reached second round
- Three woman teams: 2, 1 reached second round
- Overall woman tally: 25
So, are women better represented this series? In terms of actual participants, only slightly. In terms of there being more teams with at least one female, yes. And in terms of female team captains, this series has eight, as opposed to last year's five.
Spooling back a bit to last year, when I wrote that infamous article about women needing to be encouraged to participate. My view on that still stands. I can't say, however, that unis and colleges should be encouraged to put forward teams with females on them; they should field a team that they think is likely to, if not win, then at least have a good run.
So, yes, women are better represented this series, but there is still a bit more that can be done.