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Brazil Announces Equal Pay For Men’s And Women’s National Football Teams. When Will Countries Like US and India Follow Suit?

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Gender wage gap in sports is that elephant in the room that gets addressed way to often but nobody lets it out for a walk. It just languishes there, raising its trunk once in a while to make its point, and then sits right back. Why? Because there’s always that other mammoth argument that nobody watches women’s sports as much as men’s sports, which means the latter earns far more revenue and therefore, gets paid exorbitantly more too. The fight isn’t even just about pay equality or equal share in airwaves, but also about equality in training and resource allocation. To that end, Brazil’s football association, the CBF, has decreed that it will bridge this chasm by announcing equal pay for its men’s and women’s national teams.

BBC quoted CBF president Rogerio Caboclo saying that this policy was instituted way back in March, and will apply to not just the salaries and rewards but also international tournaments like the World Cup and the Olympics.

“Since March of this year, CBF has made an equal value in terms of prizes and daily rates between men’s and women’s football,” he said. That is, the players earn the same thing as the players during the calls. What they receive by daily call, women also receive. There is no more gender difference, as the CBF is treating men and women equally,” he said.

With this measure, Brazil joins countries like Norway, New Zealand and Australia, amongst others, that grant equal pay to their national male and female players.

However, while this news has been well received by many, there are also those who point out that this isn’t exactly a ‘fair’ or ‘equal’ approach since men’s football brings in more revenue after all. The viewership of a game in which, say, Neymar, plays is any day higher than a women’s football game, despite stellar players like Marta performing equally well.

This argument was well-countered by those who pointed out that the reason behind this could be the bigoted outlook and biased treatment meted out to women’s teams in sports. Perhaps better resources and a good marketing budget can put them in the forefront and get more people invested in their games? Remember what simply a little faith did for the Indian women’s national hockey team in Chak De! India? Sure, it was fictional, but there was some truth to it. Equality in pay is just another way to acknowledge the inspiring efforts of female players, whose fault it is definitely not that the audience is biased against them! In fact, as many people pointed out, female players like Marta have been a huge inspiration to Brazilian girls who dream of playing football for their country some day!

This move by CBF also comes at time when in US, a similar battle is being fought by players of the US national women’s soccer team, who sued the federation for gender discrimination, including unequal pay. And let’s not forget, in India too, women in sports don’t get as much appreciation and remuneration as their male counterparts, whether in cricket or any other game.

Maybe it is time we changed that?

Also Read: Barkha Dutt Says Period Leaves Make Women Seem Weak. Raise Your Hand If You Looked Up To Her And Are Now Disappointed


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