"Sexism is one of the longstanding issues faced by women in society and it runs deep in Indian football too. The notion that the women’s game is far inferior and a secondary version compared to what men play continues to exist.
On the back of it, is the huge gender pay disparity that is now coming to the fore globally.
The winners of the ongoing Fifa Women’s World Cup will receive a cash prize of $4 million. And although the cash prize is double from the previous edition that took place in 2015, France was awarded a total of $38 million for winning the 2018 men’s World Cup, almost ten times as much.
That’s one of the reasons why current Ballon d’Or holder and Norwegian Ada Hegerberg is not featuring for her country at the Women’s World Cup, her last national team appearance coming back in 2017.
She cited the discriminatory treatment of the women’s team by the Norwegian football federation as a reason for her departure. Earlier in March, the US women’s team had also taken legal action against their own federation over unequal pay, despite racking up more accolades than the men.
Countries like Norway and New Zealand have now put forward new agreements in place where men and women are receiving the same pay for representing their country.
The scenario is completely different in India where women’s footballers still rely on part-time jobs to earn a living. On national duty, all that women’s players get paid by the All India Football Federation is a meager daily allowance sum of Rs 600 while men earn somewhere around 15-25 dollars for foreign tours and Rs 1000 for games at home.
“We can’t compare men and women’s football in India. We are at a stage where we are growing and trying to reach the level set by them [men]. It’s unfair to compare. But from what I feel, we are heading in the right direction,” said India captain Aditi Chauhan when asked if women’s footballers were underpaid.