Addressing the Challenges Faced By the Women’s Cricket In India – Most of us often wonder if there are as many opportunities for women’s cricket as there are for men’s cricket? Is it a secure career to opt for a lady? Most families are generally fine with girls playing school cricket. But when it comes to competitive cricket, it becomes a no go zone. Professional cricket demands unwavering commitment. Yet one seldom reaps the fruit they have sown.
Gender disparity and the societal stance still view Cricket as a man’s game. This results in reduced viewership and active participation from women in this game. Cricket has empowered many men, in fact made them billionaires. But for women, it is limited to only those who can showcase their talents on an elite level.
Women’s Cricket In India
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) handles competitive cricket tournaments. However, when it comes to domestic cricket tournaments, there aren’t enough platforms for women. Every year, each state shortlists approximately thirty quality players for the state team. Out of which fifteen of the them will get the chance to play for the state side. The other fifteen will be left with few to almost no opportunities to play competitive cricket even though they got selected in the final thirty. And the story for girls who do not belong to those 30 is even forgettable.
But the stats and windows of opportunities on the other end of the gender spectrum spins a different story. The men’s teams find countless trophies and opportunities across all formats of the game.
This unsupportive environment can be blamed for the lack of talent retention in the sport. A supportive environment could impact the performance of players and the development of the sport in the country, even for women. A huge example of this is the achievements done by the Australia women’s cricket team. A supportive environment should also focus on the financial stability of players. The financial aspect of women’s cricket is often insufficient to sustain a career unless playing at the most top level. The payment for domestic women cricketers’ pales in comparison to their male counterparts.
This lack of financial support can dampen the spirits of aspiring girls. Stopping them from pursuing their dreams on the cricket field and choosing more ‘safer’ options in academics.
Women tend to find the sporting environments toxic and unsafe. Given the frequent cases of sexual harassment and manipulation. These factors collectively contribute to the high dropout rate among girls in the sport. Strong media presence and engagement are crucial for promoting the sport. Like it has been done for men’s cricket for many years. Cricket is wholeheartedly accepted and loved throughout the country. We can see the significant difference media can cause to the popularity and value of cricket in comparison with other sports in the country.
This engagement attracts sponsorships, and generates investments, bringing more money to the game. Ultimately increasing the participation among the people. Whereas in women’s cricket, there is still scope for improvement and more participation from media houses. We need the media to highlight women’s cricket in India just as much as Men’s cricket in India.
Addressing the Challenges – What can be done?
A lot of changes can be made by a simple, earnest desire to do more. Showing the intent to promote this game. It’s not an accident that the most successful women’s side in the game is Australia. Because they promote the game better than anyone else. Increasing the media coverage in promoting the sport. Engagement with fans through social media platforms. Getting more sponsorship and investments will turn the world around for women’s cricket in India. Promoting role models, by highlighting their accomplishments through media campaigns. These kinds of changes will inspire girls to pick up the ball or bat.
Increasing the number of International and domestic tournaments. Bringing equal formats for women in this game. Even better if we manage to improve the participation of girls at the molecular level. Introduction of Club cricket, Districts and Divisional Tournaments for every state. It will encourage girls to follow their cricket journey rather than opting out.
Ensuring proper safety and security through establishment of a system. Which facilitates anonymous complaints towards sexual harassment or any inconvenience. High class facilities and infrastructure for training, recovery and healing. Also establishing programs for the ground level development in women’s cricket. Increasing the payment from domestic tournaments to the National team. All these steps will help bridge the gap between men’s and women’s cricket in India.
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