BCCI announces equal pay for women cricketers
BCCI women's team (Credit: Harmanpreet Kaur)

Guwahati: In a welcome move towards gender equality, the national cricket board (BCCI) on Thursday announced its decision to implement pay equity for contracted women cricketers.

Board secretary Jay Shah took to Twitter to announce the apex council’s decision, according to which Harmanpreet Kaur and her teammates will be paid at par with their male counterparts.

“I’m pleased to announce @BCCI’s first step towards tackling discrimination. We are implementing pay equity policy for our contracted @BCCIWomen cricketers. The match fee for both men and women cricketers will be same as we move into a new era of gender equality in Indian cricket,” Shah said in a tweet.

The decision comes just days after it was decided in the BCCI AGM that the first season of the women’s IPL will be played in 2023.

Under the new pay structure, women cricketers will be paid Rs 15 lakh per match for a Test match, Rs 6 lakh for a one-day international (ODI) and Rs 3 lakh for a T20 match. These are the same fees given to the men’s team.

“Pay equity was my commitment to our women cricketers and I thank the Apex Council for their support. Jai Hind,” Shah said in another tweet.

However, the BCCI isn’t the first cricket board to implement the equal pay system for both genders. In May this year, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) announced plans to implement equal pay for both male and female cricketers, thanks to a five-year agreement between the board and the players association.

The BCCI’s decision will certainly boost the female cricketers as the disparity in pay structure was pretty wide till the last season. In 2021-22, Category A female cricketers earned Rs 50 lakh per match while their male counterparts in the same category earned Rs 5 crore. Moreover, male cricket players have an A+ category that pays Rs 7 crore per match.

Category B female cricketers used to get Rs 30 lakh per match while male cricket players in the same category bagged Rs 3 crore. Even Category C players in male cricket get Rs 1 crore per match while female players in the category took home Rs 10 lakh, 10 percent of what their male counterparts.

The popularity of women’s cricket in India has increased many fold since the team finished runners-up in the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup. The team has since gone on to reach the final of the T20 World Cup in 2020 and also won the silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, earlier this year.

Reacting to the news, a delighted former India skipper Mithali Raj said, “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. Thank you @JayShah Sir & the @BCCI for making this happen. Really happy today.”

Meanwhile, former cricketer Harbhajan Singh termed the BCCI’s decision as a historic milestone, and added that the unprecedented move will encourage greater participation of women in cricket.

“Happy to know that @BCCI has taken the decision of pay equity policy for sportspersons in cricket. BCCI has set a standard for other sports bodies. It will encourage greater participation of women in the game. A historic milestone indeed!” Singh said on Twitter.

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