DC Edit | Pay parity in cricket welcome
The BCCI initiative to pay women cricketers on a par with men is a fine example of helping to close the gender gap. The Indian board is only the second in cricket after New Zealand to bring about gender pay parity in match fees, if not quite in central contracts yet. But any step towards recognising women’s efforts in taking up the game and making the international grade in cricket and competing hard at that level should be encouraging.
The US Open in tennis was the first organisation to bring about pay parity, as early as in 1973, though it caused some heartburn then because there were protests pointing to women playing only matches that are best of three sets and not five like the men do. But there was a greater principle to be served in granting equality to the fairer sex. In work ethic they are no less than men and some of them qualify as fierce competitors equal to the champion men in terms of the sport they play in.
The BCCI was one of the last boards to take over the running of the women’s sport, which it did only in 2006, but since then there has been remarkable progress in women’s cricket as they have been given the same facilities as the men. Sport, which prides itself on being a metaphor for life, has done its bit in highlighting the gap in gender parity by closing it. Worldwide, women are said to make only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. This points to several lifetimes of inequality that people of one gender have suffered, generally because women’s work is under-valued.
Equal pay for work of equal value between genders is still an elusive ideal. It is a tribute to progressive thinking in sport that it should venture into the equality debate even if most sport is segregated by gender and mixed events are a rarity. In terms of wage equality between men and women, India ranks a modest 103. Seen in the Indian context, the BCCI move to pay men and women equally is a standout move that is worth emulating across sectors of work and play.