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Women's Cricket

Not 'equal pay', but a step in the right direction: BCCI's match fees diktat

While the BCCI's announcement was widely treated as a sign that India's women cricketers will now onwards get the exact monetary benefits as the men cricketers, that mark is still some way off.

Harmanpreet Kaur Deepti Sharma
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Harmanpreet Kaur and Deepti Sharma (Source: BCCI Women)

By

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 27 Oct 2022 12:08 PM GMT

In a historic move on Thursday, the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) declared partial pay equity for centrally contracted women cricketers. India's women cricketers will now onwards get the same match fees as their men's cricket team counterparts.

The women cricketers will now be paid INR 15 lakh for a Test match, INR 6 lakh for an ODI and INR 3 lakh for a T20I - roughly the same as the Indian men's team.

Many, including former India batter and captain Mithali Raj, welcomed the move with great pomp.

"This is a historic decision for women's cricket in India! The pay equity policy along with the WIPL next year, we are ushering into a new era for women's cricket in India," Raj tweeted.

While the announcement made by BCCI secretary Jay Shah today is a great step in the right direction, there is still much left to achieve 'equal pay'.

Why?

The first and foremost thing one needs to understand is that the BCCI's announcement only pertains to the match fees paid to the women cricketers - which is a relatively small portion of the earnings by India's cricketers.

Equality in the central contracts for men and women is still some way off.

The match fees paid to the players is an amount paid over and above the central contract. Think of the central contract here as a fixed salary for a year, and the match fees as an added bonus for the number of games you play over the same period of time.

Now, the fact to be noted here is the fact that the amount paid to a male cricketer under the central contract is way more than what the women get. And in this, there is still no change.

For example, the highest paid male cricketers (category A+) under the central contract earn a whopping INR. 7 crore a year, while the highest paid female cricketers (category A) earn only INR. 50 lakh a year.

In fact, the lowest paid male cricketers (category C) in the central contract earn twice as much as the highest paid women cricketers.

BCCI Central Contract 2021-22

Category

Amount paid to Men

Amount paid to Women

A+

INR. 7 crore

-

A

INR. 5 crore

INR. 50 lakh

B

INR. 3 crore

INR. 30 lakh

C

INR. 1 crore

INR. 10 lakh

The BCCI via the 'equity pay' announcement on Thursday has followed the footsteps of New Zealand Cricket (NZC), who made a similar announcement earlier this year regarding 'equal match fees'.

But, the NZC announcement had an extra point - equal match fees for domestic women cricketers too.

"The five-year deal, the first in which the men's and women's professional environments have been combined in one agreement, will see the WHITE FERNS and domestic women's players receiving the same match fees as the men across all their formats and competitions," the statement from New Zealand Cricket read back then.

The BCCI secretary Jay Shah's, who termed pay equity as 'his commitment' to women cricketers, however, had no mention of domestic cricketers in his announcement. The benefit of this announcement will take yet more time to trickle down to the ecosystem of Indian women's cricket.

While the announcement made today is definitely a step in the right direction, 'equal pay' is still some way off.

Jay Shah tweeted on Thursday: "I'm pleased to announce BCCI's first step towards tackling discrimination..." The 'first step' phrase was left out of many news reports, thus causing some misplaced euphoria.

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