Pay Disparity in any sector is not news to us. In fact, every single woman in sport has had her share of demotivation. Recently, Keerath Bhandaal and Suniti Damani -- cuesports players -- have shamed such inequality, highlighting the longstanding issue of pay disparity.
They taunted the imbalance, stating that it is "disgraceful" to be paid five times less than men when they have been representing India for many years.
"We are still very much on our own despite playing for India for so many years. I won a national title earlier this year and all I got was Rs 5,000. It is disgraceful to say the least," Bhandaal told PTI. She had made her World Championship debut in 2007.
Bhandaal, who hails from Delhi, has clinched national titles in both billiards and snooker while Damani dons the hat of being the country's leading snooker player, who won the national pool title in 2012.
"The disparity is everywhere -- be it the prize money or finding jobs or sponsors. Most leading male players have job security while the women continue to be ignored," said Damani, who balances her life with a private job in Kolkata and training in Delhi
The national level champions have also made their road to multiple World Championships.
"I have taken a break from my job to come here and practice. Despite being the leading player in the country for so many years, I still have to fend for myself. I still feel I am treated like a beginner. It is disheartening to be honest," said Damani
"There has to be a system where top 8 players of the country don't have to worry about anything other than the game. It surely seems a far cry at the moment," added Damani.
"The prize money we get has more of a sentimental value than monetary value. It is unreal to think that a national champion is getting Rs 10,000. They might as well not pay us," Bhandaal claimed, who is studying in Jesus and Mary College in Delhi. She added that the men had received prize money of Rs 50,000.
Even though an increase in the women's prize money was promised by S Balasubramanian, secretary of the Billiards and Snooker Federation of India, (BSFI) from next year onwards, but we doubt it will be equal to that of men, they said.
Feature Image Credit: The Quint
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