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India’s women cricketers to get same pay as men in push for gender equality

India’s international women cricketers will be paid the same match fee as the men, its cricket board has said, hailing a “new era of gender equality” in the nation’s favourite sport.

Thursday’s announcement by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) follows pressure across sport globally to reduce the often vast differences in pay.

Match fees are however separate from annual pay packets, where there are enormous differences between what Indian men and their women counterparts earn.

“We are implementing pay-equity policy for our contracted @BCCIWomen cricketers,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah tweeted, calling it the “first step towards tackling discrimination”.

“The match fee for both men and women cricketers will be same as we move into a new era of gender equality in cricket,” Shah said.

Former Indian women’s captain Mithali Raj called the pay announcement a “historic decision for women’s cricket in India”.

Coupled with the women’s IPL, “we are ushering in a new era for women’s cricket in India… really happy today”, she tweeted.

A historic milestone

Despite some progress India remains a highly traditional and patriarchal society and has far fewer women in formal employment than men.

Men and women players will now get $18,000 (1.5 million Indian rupees) for each Test, $7,288 (600,000 Indian rupees) for one-day internationals and $3,644 (300,000 Indian rupees) for T20 internationals.

According to media reports, it is an almost four-fold increase for women for Test matches, a six-fold rise for ODIs and three times higher for a T20.

India’s men will still earn considerably more overall because of their higher annual retainers and the fact they play many more matches every year than the women.

For the 2020-21 season, contracts for the top-graded men such as superstar Virat Kohli were worth around $850,377 (70 million Indian rupees), according to previous BCCI announcements.

This is almost 14 times what women get in the highest bracket.

READ MORE: Women cricketers eye Olympics after successful Commonwealths debut

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