India is a land of opposites. We are very happy and celebrate when an Indian athlete wins a medal in Olympics or Commonwealth Games. It is a matter of national pride of each and every Indian when our team wins any World Cup or other international tournament. However when it comes to the youth, they are encouraged to follow academics and not sports. There has been a mindset that sports may be taken up as a hobby but not as a full-fledged profession as the rewards are not commensurate with the training efforts required, especially for women on account of the gender pay gap. There is a mentality that there are not many sponsorships and endorsements available for sportspersons apart from cricketers and that the most lucrative endorsement deals generally go to male cricketers.
These concerns can be said to be justified till some time ago. There has now begun a change in the approach and the issue of gender pay gap is being addressed. In May 2022, the Table Tennis Federation of India passed an order offering equal prize money for men and women in all national zonal tournaments. In October 2022, the Board of Control for Cricket in India announced equal pay for men and women cricketers. The Target Olympics Podium Scheme set up in September 2014 to provide assistance to India’s top athletes across 13 sports disciplines to realize India’s Olympic Medal Dream offers a monthly stipend of INR 50,000 per athlete without any discrimination between gender.
In the long run, these steps appear to the start of the reforms to address the gender pay gap thus encouraging more and more women to pursue all sports.
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