There was another landmark in the journey to gender equality in sport today when the Indian cricket authority confirmed that its male and female players will be paid the same match fees for international appearances. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has unveiled its standardised match fees that will be introduced from 2023 onwards, and both the men’s and women’s teams will receive equal pay.
That equates to 3 lakhs (around £3,000) for international T20 games, 6 lakhs for ODI appearances (about £6,300) and 15 lakhs (roughly £15,700) per test match cap. It’s a move that BCCI chief Jay Shah has described as a ‘new era’ for gender parity in Indian sport, and echoes a similar decision taken in New Zealand in July.
There, both international and domestic players of both genders will receive the same match fees, with the new pay deal effectively saw the salaries earned by female players more than treble overnight. However, representatives of the men’s teams will still take home considerably more than their female counterparts, in that they receive central contracts and simply play more cricket each season.
But it’s a huge step in the right direction, and one that India’s women’s team captain Harmanpreet Kaur described as a ‘red letter day’ for the sport.
— Harmanpreet Kaur (@ImHarmanpreet) October 27, 2022
There has been no news of a similar change in pay being unveiled in English cricket, in which, at the last count, men were paid roughly 30% more than women.
Which Sports Have Equal Pay for Men & Women?
The difference in attitudes amongst the various sports towards equal pay is incredibly stark. Tennis has been something of a flagbearer for gender equality, and equal prize money has been paid to male and female players at the US Open since the 1970s. However, across the entirety of a whole ATP/WTA season, women are still earning around 34% less than men.
In football, Women’s Super League players earn on a pay scale from £20,000 up to £250,000, whereas in the Premier League the lowest-paying club, Brentford, still has an average salary of £640,000 per player. At Manchester United, this increases to a whopping £7.19 million.
But maybe the overall picture is improving. A BBC survey back in 2017 found that 83% of sports have introduced equal pay measures, with 35 out of 44 that pay prize money introducing gender equality.
However, there are still major discrepancies at the elite level, and in America, the women’s soccer team took home less for winning the 2019 World Cup than group stage losers in the men’s tournament in Russia a year prior. The US Soccer Federation has since incorporated an equal pay scheme, but there is still a long way to go before anything like parity is achieved. Beatrice Frey of UN Women states:
I cannot think of any other industry that has such a wage gap, really. Depending on country context and sport, a man can be billionaire and a woman [in the same discipline] cannot even get a minimum salary.