One perplexing bit about cricket lovers is that they claim to love the sport, whilst mostly they are just fanatics about our men’s cricket team. Barring a few, many may not be able to even name players from our women’s cricket team (and no, Mithali Raj has retired). But can we blame them?
It’s a naked truth that female cricket does not have the same fan base as their male counterparts. But why? Recently, freelance journalist Annesha Ghosh shared a detailed Twitter thread about how covering women’s cricket in India becomes a ‘financially unrewarding job.’ And it does put a lot of things into perspective.
Apparently, covering female cricket in India means signing up for voluntary overtime cos it doesn’t appear to be ‘important enough’ for many news agencies. And that hardly seems surprising since many female cricket matches do not even get broadcasted properly.
Unsurprisingly, our women cricketers are welcoming towards journalists who invest their time in covering female cricket. And big sports tournaments are undoubtedly gaining traction among desi audiences, but we’re still far from witnessing equity in coverage, broadcast, and popularity.
Annesha proceeded to conclude her compelling thread by posing a rhetorical question, “what’s really stopping anyone from covering women’s cricket in India?”
Given original content pieces on women’s cricket are often borrowed, there aren’t many who’d actually take the effort to create something on their own.
Why isn’t a journalist paid enough to cover women’s cricket? Why isn’t it marketed enough? Why does covering female cricket require overtime and personal investment on the part of journalists? It surely doesn’t feel like a question of lack of funds, intent, or time. But then, what’s left?
Take a note of how people are reacting to this powerful thread.
Last month, BCCI introduced a pay-equity policy announcing both women and men will be receiving the same match fees. It was a landmark step towards erasing discrimination from sports in India, but we have a long way to go!