• T20 Cricket World Cup 2016 – Men & Women alike. Or not?

    ICC men’s world cup flag off on March 8th at Nagpur while the women’s cup will begin from March 15th, with the first match being played between India and Bangladesh at Bengaluru. But hey, why are we not talking about the women’s team? While ICC men’s ratings are 126, women score 111, which is great score, going by the available infrastructure and social inspiration. Their recent knockout performances have raised the stakes for women’s victory on the probability scale much above what one could have expected.

    While there is only one man, Virat Kohli in the top 10 T20 world players, but there are 2 women, Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur who are in the top 10 list without having had the kind of infrastructural support that the men’s teams have enjoyed. 

    When I started researching for the subject, I realized nothing else could be a better example than this to describe the gender imbalance in our society. Women recieve mention towards the end of the third page of my search results of ‘World Cup T20 2016 India‘. It is true when author Simone De Beauvoir says ‘Man is the absolute, woman is the relative.‘ Whatever is happening, is happening in the dark shadows of the male vanguard. Even in posters of the new player uniform that everyone has been talking about, women don’t seem to have any independent posters, unlike their male counterparts. The campaign is still largely focused on the men’s arena. See for yourself.

    Look at how the two captains have been positioned with respect to each other.

    Look at how the two captains have been positioned with respect to each other.

     Not that you get significant material here, but even the wikipedia page has information and schedules limited to the men’s team, under the head 2016 ICC World Twenty-20. And when you don’t market well, you don’t sell well. All of women’s match tickets are priced anywhere between Rs 50 to Rs 2000, while tickets for men’s matches sell for as much as Rs.10000!

    As young girls, how many of us are advised to take up professional sports as a career? It is almost never on the list 

    Team India- the 'man leads, woman follows' cliche'

    Team India- the “man leads, woman follows” cliche’

    The path we take to professional choices is often socially guided. I mean, shouldn’t it be the other way round? How many of us working-class women would actually buy a ticket and spare an afternoon to cheer some women running around on the field. And how many of us would watch critical men’s matches even if we don’t like cricket, just to please someone we like?

    Shouldn’t our choices be guiding society, than the other way round, the way it is today? We have just learnt to live with these problematic structures. As long as we don’t see that it is a problem and decide to do something about it, wheels of such disparity will continue to spin, deepening their roots with each cycle.