Cricket has not been the most lucrative of sport for women in the country, which has often led to several women moving away from the game. However, in a historic move last week, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced that they will implement equality in pay for both men cricketers and women cricketers.
The women cricketers will now get INR 15 lakhs for a Test, INR 6 lakhs for an ODI and INR 3 lakhs for a T20I, matching the wages that the men’s cricketers earn. It is a massive jump from the previous structure, where they were only earning INR 2.5 lakhs, INR 1 lakh and INR 1 lakh respectively.
"It was my commitment to our women cricketers and pay equity is an important step towards tackling discrimination. The female cricketers will be paid the same match fee as their male counterparts. This is a landmark decision as we enter a new era in India Cricket. I would like to thank my colleagues in the BCCI Apex Council," BCCI secretary Jay Shah said announcing the decision.
Mithali Raj, who has seen the growth of the sport from amateur to professional level in the country, calls this move as having a “huge impact” on women’s cricket.
"I think it's a historic move. For a long time there have been discussions around this. And I think it has come at the right time. (Because) If we are targeting women's cricket coming to a stage where men's cricket is today, this decision will go a long way in taking us there. It is in that direction. It will have a huge impact,” Mithali told Cricbuzz.
"It also, in a way, will attract young girls to take up the sport. It will ensure parents will now not shy away from looking at women's cricket as a career option. In the past, it would be difficult because there was not much for the sport in terms of financial gains. There was always this concern whether the sport can sustain or if a girl can make a career out of the sport (women's cricket) professionally and not just play for passion," Mithali added.
Earlier in the year, the BCCI also announced the start of the new era for women’s cricket, with the inaugural Women’s IPL, a move that has been on the cards for some years now. Mithali adds that the lucrative tournament will ensure that more women stay engaged with the sport, and not take up other means for livelihood.
"Now with the women's IPL also forthcoming, more and more girls will be attracted to the sport. Women's cricket has been bolstered by these decisions. The pay parity, women's IPL and Under-19 World Cup are all steps in the right direction. I have always emphasised the importance of the Under 19 World Cup in many of my interviews. It is an important tournament," Mithali explained.