In a significant step for gender pay equity in cricket — BCCI announced that all contracted female cricketers would receive same match fees compared to male cricketers. The announcement was made by BCCI secretary Jay Shah minutes before the commencement of the match between India and the Netherlands in the ongoing T20 World Cup.
The historic decision by BCCI was lauded by the global cricket fraternity and women rights activists.
Equal-Fee Policy of BCCI
BCCI secretary Jay Shah tweeted on Thursday, “I am pleased to announce BCCI’s first step towards tackling discrimination”.
“We are implementing pay equity policy for our contracted BCCI Women cricketers. The match fee for both Men and Women Cricketers will be same as we move into a new era of gender equality in Cricket”, he further wrote.
As per the official website of the Indian Cricket Board, “The Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) on Thursday announced implementing pay equity policy for its contracted Women cricketers”.
Now, as per the new Equal-fee policy, the contracted woman cricketers will be paid at par with their male counterparts. The current pay structure is ₹15 lakhs in Tests, ₹6 lakhs in ODIs and ₹3 lakhs in T20s.
It is a massive jump in pay for female cricketers – over 1500% of their previous salary.
Where Do Other Nations Stand in Gender Pay Equity?
For decades, Women sportspersons have demanded parity in pay compared to their male counterparts. In the Forbes list of highest-paid athletes in 2021, only two females made it to the top 50.
As per a 2017 study, 88% of English Women’s Super League players make less than £18,000 annually. In order to put this into perspective, a male Premier League player makes around £50,000 each week.
According to the same study, 90% of female players were considering ending their careers to pursue higher-paying jobs or to establish families.
Previously this year, the US Soccer Federation had announced equal match pay for men’s and women’s soccer teams. However, other US sports are yet to bridge the gender pay-gap, such as basketball, golf, etc.
As per a BBC study, “male golf players in 2014 earned an average of $1.1 million, while females earned $212,000 — a gap of $888,000; by 2021, that gap had grown to $1.25 million”.
Australia — a sports powerhouse, has also not fared well in providing equal pay to females. Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that men earn an average of $263.90 more than women a week in sports.
As per a 2019 report, “Australian sport has an overall gender pay gap of 27%”.
Sports should not discriminate through the domains of race, color or gender. For years, women have represented their respective countries in different sports, be it football, cricket, tennis or hockey. Equal pay for female sportspersons — compared with their male counterparts, is a responsibility that not only rests on sports federations but also on every sport-loving individual.