The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Wednesday announced the annual contracts for the Indian Women’s team. While the grade structure of the contract was similar to the men’s team, it was the wages that ignited the debate of gender parity on social media. The recent debate has again raised the question - Why unequal pay for equal work?
Gender equality has been a long-standing debate in the country. While continued efforts of activists forced the government to make some key policy changes, it looks like there is still a long road ahead.
Indian Women's payment structure:
The glaring difference between male and female’s pay structure
The Indian board announced the men’s annual contract last month, where the Grade A+ contracted players receive a whopping amount of 7 crores. Meanwhile, C grade men’s cricketer gets 1 crore annually. On the other hand, Grade A contracted women’s cricketers will receive 50 Lakhs after a season. The fact that an A grade women's player earns the half of amount that a C grade male player receives tells a brutal truth and reality.
Indian men's payment structure:
Virat Kohli’s salary – A total of whole Indian Women's team pay!
The pay gap between both men and women’s cricketers can be compared with the fact that Indian men’s skipper Virat Kohli’s yearly salary is 37% more than the combined total of the whole Indian Women's team pay! But the issue is not just with the BCCI’s approach towards women’s cricket, the bigger issue is that even the players in the past have also defended it. Smriti Mandhana during an interview had told, "We need to understand that the revenue which we get is through men's cricket. The day women's cricket starts getting revenue, I will be the first person to say that we need the same thing. But right now, we can't say that."
Male cricketers need to step in
A change in the wages of women cricketers needs to happen and needs to happen soon. Women's cricket has started to get the deserved attention and the crowd attendance in the T20 World Cup final last year was the prime example of that. But for that change to happen, the male cricketers will have to step in and speak up.
The Indian cricketers should take the example of the 2017 pay deal between Cricket Australia (CA) and the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA), where the women's cricketers received the biggest pay rise in the history of women’s sport in Australia. CA announced that the pay of female players will increase from $7.5 million to $55.2 million by the end of the five-year deal. The deal worked only because the players, both men and women, were united.
It is clear that BCCI needs to strategise some new policies and marketing techniques to promote women's cricket. However, the board also needs to provide more game time which could potentially generate more revenues and eventually reduce the pay gap between the male and female cricketers.
But for now, it seems the road towards equal pay for Indian women is going to be a rough ride.