The battle for equal pay has always been a tough game and the sporting world is known for its notoriety in paying sports persons unequally, particularly women and disabled participants. Veteran badminton player and former Olympian Aparna Popat strongly believes that sportspersons should be paid equally regardless of their gender, however, many people are still divided on the matter.
“I will stick my neck out and say that the performance of women athletes has surpassed that of the men.”
At the Economic Times Panache roundtable on sport, she said, “If you look at the performance of female athletes at the highest level, I think Indian women have done very well in the recent past. I will stick my neck out and say that the performance of women athletes has surpassed that of the men.” Indian women have almost won more medals on the international stage more than men and this definitely needs to be taken into account, not to mention that women are doing exceptionally well in non-Olympic sports like Cricket, for example. The fight for equal pay in sports has garnered a lot of attention this year when Megan Rapinoe and the United States Women’s National Team filed a lawsuit for unequal pay when they compared their earnings to the men’s team. She also added by saying, “I think the financial situation is good, as of now. It’s very important to see how much of the money trickles down to the grassroots, and then we should try to find an equal playing field. I think that’s something we need to aspire to.”
Both men and women work equally hard to reach national and international levels
In addition to this, films like Chak De India, Bend It Like Beckham, Dangal and more have given women in sports a massive spotlight in the country and all over the world. Popat herself always had a passion for sports, particularly badminton. Growing up, she worked hard throughout the year to ensure that she could practice and even became more efficient at homework to make time for badminton. Always a keen learner from the beginning, she always tried to incorporate the best practices and techniques so that she can be the best that she can be. Therefore, she knows the hard work that goes behind any sport and that both men and women work equally hard to reach both the national and international stage. So, women and men must be paid equally because both genders work equally hard and must not be pitted against each other.
Image credit: sportstar.thehindu.com