Recently, the Board of Control for Cricket in India took a historic step towards reducing the gender pay gap in cricket.
What is being proposed?
- Under the “pay equity policy” centrally contracted players, men and women both, will now receive the same match fees.
- Women players who till now were paid Rs 1 lakh for a white-ball match and Rs 4 lakh for a Test match, will now be paid Rs 15 lakh for a Test, Rs 6 lakh for a one-dayer and Rs 3 lakh for a T20 international.
How is it significant?
- While this is a significant move towards bridging the gender pay gap in the profession, it is only when women players start playing more matches across all formats internationally that equal match fee will actually lead to pay parity in the truest sense.
- The BCCI, whose mandate is to promote the game, must now push for more matches — only then will this move go beyond performative tokenism.
- In fact, it is the other announcement — of a women’s IPL — that could translate to more far-reaching changes on the ground.
What is the underlying issue?
- Unfortunately, the gender divide is not just limited to the cricket field. Women’s labour force participation rate is considerably lower than that of men, and as studies have documented, there is a gender wage gap across occupations and industries.
- On this issue, India fares poorly when compared to other countries, even those at similar or lower levels of income. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap report 2022, India ranked 135 out of 146 countries on the gender gap index, with the country faring poorly on economic participation and opportunity.
- Data presented in the report shows that there are few firms with majority female ownership and where women are employed as top managers.
- As per the International Labour Organisation’s Global Wage Report 2018-19, the mean gender pay gap (based on hourly wages) in India was 34.5 per cent. This wage gap was the highest amongst the 73 countries with varying levels of per capita income examined in the report.
Way forward –
- Indian governments have over the years taken steps to ensure wage parity, beginning with the Equal Remuneration Act. Yet gender wage gaps exist in both formal and informal labour market segments, and in this, societal prejudices play an important role.
- Given that gender-based discrimination is an important aspect of socio-economic inequalities, policy interventions must be guided by the urgency to reduce inequalities and expand opportunities for all, on and off the cricket field.
Source – The Indian Express
QUESTION – ‘Gender-pay parity’ policy effort of the BCCI points towards a larger underlying issue that is exacerbated by our societal prejudices. Discuss how the recent attempt by the BCCI can be made more effective than just a performative tokenism in the fight against gender discrimination.