The gender-based pay gap is a reality. And nothing makes it more clear than sports. Cricket a game which is often considered as a unifying religion in India because of the huge following has such great disparity in terms of how it pays its both international teams.

However, for some reason, even our female players do not believe that they deserve as much as the men’s team and that is the saddest part. Several leading Indian players have said that they don’t deserve to get paid as much as the men’s team? Recently, Anjum Chopra, the former Indian captain said it is “unfair” for the women’s team to expect equal pay before they lift the world cup.

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Sample this, as per BCCI’s recent central contracts, Grade A women players receive Rs 50 lakhs whereas Grade A men’s cricketers draw Rs 5 crore. The top bracket men cricketers who are in the A+ category, earn Rs 7 crore. That is a huge difference? Isn’t it?

Speaking to Indiatoday.in about the gender pay gap in Indian cricket, Anjum Chopra who has represented the Indian team in several World Cups said, “I do not know why this has become a discussion point in such a big manner because we must remember that Indian women’s team has never won a World Cup. Men’s team has.”

Chopra believes women cricketers should compare themselves to the best in their own gender, which is currently the Australian team. “First and foremost they should compare themselves to what the best women’s team in the world is getting-that is the Australian team. I think that will be a more fair assessment of comparison rather than being compared to men’s counterparts. Men’s cricket is the pinnacle because what Indian men’s team draws, I do not think any team in the world draws that, even men,” she added.

“And I think it is a brilliant thing that Australian women are getting paid equally to men. And this also means that Indian women can also get paid equally, but what is the reason that we are not getting, that is because we have not won a World Cup,” Chopra said.

Also Read: In A Landmark Move Australia’s Women Footballers To Get Equal Pay

Australia women players now earn the same money as their male counterparts.

Earlier, Smriti Mandhana had also said something on the similar lines “We need to understand that the revenue we get is through men’s cricket. The day women’s cricket starts earning revenue, I will be the first person to say that we need the same thing. But right now, we can’t say that.”

“And I think it is a brilliant thing that Australian women are getting paid equally to men. And this also means that Indian women can also get paid equally, but what is the reason that we are not getting, that is because we have not won a World Cup,” Chopra said.

However, we all know society and mindsets do not change overnight. It is unlikely that the decision making bodies which now believe women are not as good as men will change the way they think the moment the women’s team has the world cup in their hands. The UN Women website states, “Worldwide, women only make 77 cents for every dollar earned by men.” Lifting the world cup cannot make the things equal, there is a lifetime of income inequality which needs to be bridged here.

The world is watching as the US women footballers who are fighting over the wage gap and have filed an equal-pay lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation. In a recent match, the team turned their jerseys inside out to hide the logo of the governing federation. The players sported inside-out jerseys throughout the national anthem. Look at how these women have to fight tooth and nail for equal pay!

The women’s cricket team has been part of two very close finals in the recent past and have shown their mettle on the field. They have the grit and determination on the field to win matches then why not have it off the field too?

Picture Credit: Hindustan Times

The views expressed are the author’s own.

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