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The England & Wales Cricket Board has pledged a funding boost for women's cricket of £20 million over two years, and plans to invest £50 million in the next five years, in a bid to make cricket into a gender-balanced sport.

The challenge of transforming women's and girls' cricket was one of six priorities within the ECB's 'Inspiring Generations' strategy for 2020-2024, and part of the new remit is a commitment to the funding of 40 full-time professional, domestic contracts, in addition to the existing central contracts for England Women's elite players.

"Recent initiatives have given women and girls more opportunities to play, such as All Stars Cricket for 5-8-year-olds, the South Asian female activators programme, and the Kia Super League for our most talented domestic cricketers. But to truly transform women's and girls' cricket, we must now move from targeted standalone programmes to addressing the whole pathway as one.

"We have an amazing opportunity to make cricket the sport we want it to be - a sport that is modern, innovative and inclusive. I have been so heartened by the level of enthusiasm, commitment and support for this plan from everyone involved in cricket."

A ten-point action plan was unveiled by Clare Connor, the ECB's managing director for women's cricket, at an event in London.

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