Top squash player Dipika Pallikal is all set to compete in the Senior National Championship this July. This, after the player had boycotted the tournament in 2011, after winning the title and demanding equal prize money for men’s and women’s categories.  “I look forward to playing the nationals again. My stand (for equal prize money) was not just about me but for the entire women’s squash fraternity. Nowadays, you have more and more international events offering equal prize money. So, it is good that the national federation (SRFI) too has decided to have equal prize money,” Pallikal was quoted by PTI, reports DNA..

After 5 years of her unwavering stand on the issue, the organisers have finally given in and decided to equal the prize money, putting men and women on a equal footing for the premier domestic tournament. Niraj Shirgaokar, the championship director, confirmed that the Nationals will have equal prize money of 1.25 lakhs, both in the men’s and women’s category.

Equal pay in sports remains an evolving topic, as it is not just confined to squash; women are paid significantly less than men across the board in sports. In the tennis circuit too the debate has been raging, where there are some like top ranked player Novak Djokovic, who argue that since men’s matches have many more spectators than women, it is only fair that they be rewarded more. While, in the same context, Serena Williams pointed out that last year the women’s final at the US Open sold out well before the men. Although the Professional Squash Association (PSA) has made a conscious effort to keep this demand in mind and even had equal prize money of $160,000 for both men and women at the World Series Final in Dubai.

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We don’t see any reason to support unequal pay and we hope this wage gap shrinks sooner. Equal pay is still a big fight and victories like Dipika Pallikal’s are a step towards the gradual win.

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Pallikal is delighted by the decision of the organisers and will be seen competing in the Senior National Championship for the first time in 5 years. Her long time teammate Joshna Chinappa, who is currently India highest ranked player at 11, will also be competing for the same title. A match between then will surely be worth watching!

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