In a landmark move, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced on Thursday (October 27) that it will implement a new pay equality policy for its contracted female cricketers, where males and female cricketers will essentially pay the same match fees.
The members of the 15th BCCI Apex Council passed the resolution unanimously and the decision was praised by Indian cricketers on Twitter. Sachin Tendulkar said: “Cricket has been an equalizer in many ways. This is a welcome step towards gender equality in the game and eradicating discrimination in sport.”
Cricket has been an equalizer in many ways. This is a welcome step towards gender equality in the game and the elimination of discrimination from sport. 👏️
Very happy with @BCCI’s decision and great to see India paving the way forward. @JayShah
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) October 27, 2022
What does the decision mean for the players?
BCCI Honorary Secretary Jay Shah said female cricketers will be paid the same match money as the men: test matches for Rs 15 lakhs, ODI matches for Rs 6 lakhs and T20I for Rs 3 lakhs.
India Women’s Cricket Team captain Harmanpreet Kaur tweeted on Thursday: “Truly a red letter day for Women’s Cricket in India with announced pay equality for women and men. Thank you @BCCI and @JayShah.”
Until now, while this was the match prize for each Test, ODI and T20 for the men, Indian female cricketers earned Rs 4 lakhs for Test matches and Rs 1 lakh for T20s and ODIs, Reuters reported.
In cricket, apart from the match wise fees, there is a commission payment system. For female cricketers, Rs 50 lakh for class A cricketers, Rs 30 lakh for class B and Rs 10 lakh for class C cricketers is paid annually apart from match fees. Men cricketers, who play a greater number of games, are paid between Rs 7 crore and Rs 1 crore depending on their grade, starting with an A Plus grade. This will not change for the time being.
BCCI’s newly appointed chairman Roger Binny said: “Our female players will be paid the same match money as men in international cricket. This decision sets the stage for cricket to grow and develop. I believe this is an important step forward for women’s cricket and the game in general.”
Is India the only country that has wage equality in sports?
No, the first country to do so was New Zealand in July 2022. New Zealand Cricket, the governing body for professional cricket in the country, and the players’ association signed a five-year agreement so that both international and domestic female players will receive the same match fees as men in all sizes and competitions. There will also be equality on things like travel, accommodation and the wider play and training environment. The men’s team also still has higher substitutes than the women’s team.
Australia has also recently embarked on ambitious plans to make cricket more popular in the country this year, with an emphasis on aligning women’s cricket with men’s cricket. Cricket Australia, the governing body for professional and amateur cricket in the country, aims to double the number of boys in the 5-12 age group playing the game to 210,000 and quadruple the number of girls in the same age group to 60,000. Women’s wages have also risen significantly in recent years.
Similarly, in May 2022, the Committee of Trustees that manages the affairs of the Table Tennis Federation of India said it would provide equal prize money for men and women in all national zonal tournaments – including national championships for all age groups.
Another important step is that the American football associations for men and women have also signed equal pay agreements this year. This was a rarity as most sports see the men getting higher pay for a variety of reasons – they play more games per season and they get more advertising and corporate sponsorship based on the size of their audience. However, it has been argued that an equal base rate could motivate more women to join and watch sports, eventually gaining a similar following as the men’s competitions.