Since our childhood, we have seen women overpower or be at the same level with men in maximum fields of work. Sports was considered a ‘man’s territory’ and very less women actively participated in sports.
This is not the scenario in this day and age. Women all across the globe have brought fame to their country in different sports or games they practice. The most difficult of tasks like climbing the Everest and crossing the English Channel have been accomplished by Bachendri Pal and Gertrude Ederle.
But, the Indian media and broadcasters have become extremely insensitive towards any sort of achievement of the women teams. So much so that they don’t even bother to report or show their matches. For instance, if the Indian men’s cricket team wins, 3/4th of the sports pages in all the leading dailies cover every inch of what happened in the matches and what did not. Whereas, when a women’s team does the same, it’s just small news in the corner. Does the media have any answer to this?
In fact, as I very unsuccessfully tried to make a collage of how the media reports differ between men’s and women’s teams’ achievements, I couldn’t find any news for the women’s cricket team. And this after the Indian women’s team defeated the world champions Australia in a record Twenty20 chase on 26th January, 2016. Disheartening, right?
Even the sponsors have been very biased towards the women sports. In 2009, the sponsor of the women’s national field hockey team was given to the men’s team on the grounds of medal assurance. The Indian Women’s team won a silver in the following year.
Men’s sportsperson, especially cricket, get rewarded by the state ministry, sponsors and other individuals after victory, but, the women’s team are just congratulated on social networking sites (which is quite rare as well). It shall not be forgotten that if a team comes under the same governing council, they stand for equal share in everything.
There is a huge difference between the salaries as well. The question that arises is, if the players have no difference in the game format, the playing conditions and the pressure from the respective boards, then why the financial differences?
Consider this- male players are given government jobs by the sports authorities in their respective states. The female players, who’ve won medals at the national and the international platforms alike, are left to fend for themselves. And once in a while, when the heart-wrenching stories of these heroes see the light of the day (thanks to social media), the nation cries outrage, demands answers and then forgets about it once the news feed is refreshed.
And though we may shy away from admitting it, but it all comes down to the patriarchy ingrained in us which is rigid and bone-deep. Unless and until we establish common ground between both the genders and recognize them for their skill and not their sex, it is safe to say that equality in the sports arena is still a lofty dream.