Thousands of girls go missing every time they get out of school, and no I’m not talking about kidnapping or marriages. They don’t disappear from their lives, they disappear from cricket. Today you and I are going to do a little detective work and find out where these girls go.
Let’s start from the beginning: At school girls practice, play and defeat boys ample of times. Yet, we see men piling on like sheep in the cricket industry after school whereas the women cricket’s line is comparatively barren. Even if we take the “men are biologically stronger” theories it still doesn’t justify the significant disparity between men and women cricket players, especially in India.
These women are not missing, they’re buried under deadlines and 9-5 jobs, they’re hidden under the societal pressure to be feminine and to get married, and they are veiled by their children and families. But its 2017, women don’t have to stay at home. Why do any other job than the one you spend your childhood preparing for?
The answer is simple; in fact it’s pretty practical. Drum roll please, while players like yours truly Virat Kohli and M.S Dhoni earn about 2 crores per annum, A-list women players like Mithali Raj get around 15 lakhs. And this wage disparity isn’t hidden, it’s clearly stated in the BCCI website. Although, due props have to be given to BCCI for improving upon the past conditions of no fixed contracts, low pay of 3 lakhs and economy class tickets while travelling for matches, there’s still a long way to go in women cricket. And it’s just not women cricket. Women are almost always paid less than men, that too for the same sport!
With a pay that low, it is understandable why women prefer comfortable and secure jobs to sustain themselves. While movies and reports show the domestic problems of women in the sports industry, the main hurdle is one that no one can overcome. You spend all your lives re-defining society and going against gender norms only to be rewarded significantly less than your male counterparts. I can’t end this by putting the entirety of the blame on BCCI because the murderers are us. Yes, we the unsuspecting, innocent viewers are why these women are paid less. How’s that for a plot twist. We have glorified male cricket to such an extent that it’s become a festival. The stadiums are over-filled and the players are worshipped. On the other hand women’s cricket has just got noticed by the majority of the population. Unless and until we are as hyped about women’s cricket as we are about men’s there’s not much BCCI can do about their pay. So go on! Watch the matches, create fan pages, and shift those Kohli posters aside to create space for the women in blue. Every game needs their fans more than they need wins. It’s time we start appreciating these women. Case closed.