Male v Female: How Much Pay Equality Do We Have In Indian Sports?
Male v Female: How Much Pay Equality Do We Have In Indian Sports?

With a 27 percent overall pay gap between the genders, across professions, we could just be doing worse in sports.

The article was originally published in Oct 2017. Salaries for both male and female cricketers have been hiked since. But there still remains a huge gulf.


Norway set an example for the world to follow when it equalised the salaries of its male and female footballers earlier this month. In a ground-breaking move for gender equality, the Scandinavian country cut down the budget for its men’s team by 550,000 kronor (Rs 44.2 lakh) and raised the ladies’ by 3.1 million kronor (Rs 2.5 crore) for them to meet at the 6 million kronor mark.


So while the North European country is taking leaps as a progressive role model, what is the situation in Indian sports like? With a 27 percent overall pay gap between the genders across professions, according to, we might just be doing worse in sports. 




The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) drew applause by hiking the salaries of the women cricket team ahead of the World Cup earlier this year. Even the daily allowances were brought at par with the male counterparts in addition to flying business class for tours.


But that doesn’t change the fact that the ladies’ annual contract amounts remain a shadow of the Men in Blue. If you compare the top Grade across genders, there is close to a 14-fold gap while the gulf in second grade is 10 times. There isn’t even a third tier of contracts for the women.


Indian Women’s Team


Type of contract    Amount                                    


Grade A (1 year)    Rs 15 lakh (annual retainer fee)    


Grade B (1 year)    Rs 10 lakh (annual retainer)            


Indian Men’s Team


Type                  Amount


Grade A            Rs 2 crore                


Grade B            Rs 1 crore                


Grade C            Rs 50 lakh                




Cricket being India’s most popular sport has attracted much of the resources and money in the country. But sports like football are quickly catching up as well, thanks to widespread attention through cash-strapped leagues. As a testimony, the Indian women’s team ranks 56 currently in the world while the men have also broken into the top 100 for the first time in close to two decades.


“Any average professional player, who played for India last year made anywhere between Rs 40 and 50 lakh per annum. This season their salaries have seen a spike and they are drawing anywhere between Rs 65 and 70 lakh,” said the All India Football Association’s spokesperson, Nilanjan Datta earlier this year. On the other hand, a female footballer who plays for the country earns between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 10 lakh, according to a source close to the association.


Other sports


Hockey: Sources tell us that their is a minimum 10-fold wage gap between the two genders’ salary in India when it comes to the national sport.


Tennis: The most lucrative sport for female athletes has internationally set the prize money as equal for men and women at all four grand-slam events—the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open. But how much do sponsors pay and charge each player is a completely different story in each country.


Badminton: Just like tennis, it’s hard to quantify the salaries even in the individual sport of badminton that has produced serious amounts of talent in India of late. But what is a progressive sign is the equal amounts of prize money at India’s premier badminton event — Yonex Sunrise India Open 2017 (Part of the MetLife BWF WORLD SUPERSERIES).


Squash: Recently, India’s best known female squash player Dipika Pallikal refused to play in the squash nationals, protesting against the unequal rewards on offer for male and female players. While remuneration for male winners was fixed at Rs. 1,20,000, the female winner would pocket only Rs. 50,000.


What do you think of the situation? Let us know in the comments section below. 

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