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The Hundred equal pay: sincere scheme or public ploy?

Written by Sport, Sport Features

It has recently been announced by the organisers of “the Hundred” that both the men’s and women’s winners will be paid the same amount of prize money. A whopping £600,000 will be split between the men’s and women’s format.

Many have praised this move by the organisers, including England captain, Heather Knight, who said, “it is brilliant news.”

“To have equal prize money is a statement by the ECB [England and Wales Cricket Board] to put women’s cricket alongside men’s cricket.

“We have a long way to go to make women’s cricket as equal as it can be – but the signs are brilliant.”

The signs ARE brilliant, women’s cricket is on the rise.

You’ve just got to look at how packed the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) was on International Women’s Day earlier this month, when Australia hosted India in the final of the Women’s T20 World Cup. The hosts went on to win by 85 runs, an Aussie win on home turf, something that can only do wonders for the popularity of women’s cricket.

However, call me a cynic, but I feel like the decision to implement equal pay is a bit of a trap. It’s no secret that the Hundred has faced a lot of controversy from fans and critics alike for various reasons. The move to pay the men’s and women’s teams equal amounts feels like the organisers are scrambling to get a slither of positive coverage for the tournament. If this is the case, then the decision to implement equal pay is completely demeaned. What is the point campaigning for equality in the men’s and women’s game if the primary reason is for the Hundred to have a shred of positive publicity. If equal pay has been implemented simply for the purposes of positive publicity, then that is utterly incorrect.

The competition in its preparations hasn’t been equal so far in the slightest. We’ve heard all about the big names coming from across the world to compete, Steve Smith, David Warner, Sunile Narine, as well as star England players such as Ben Stokes and Joe Root- but where is the publicity for the women’s competition? In an English first, a player draft was held, with team coaches bidding for some of the world’s biggest superstars. Yet, there was no women’s draft conducted in the same manner or even televised.

This draft was live streamed on YouTube
Source: Sky Sports YouTube – The Hundred Draft – UK cricket’s first EVER player draft

If the ECB truly cares about equality in men’s and women’s cricket, then didn’t they televise the women’s draft like the men’s draft? The ECB state that their mission is to get “women and girls being properly represented in the game” and that’s all very well and good, equal pay is a step forward to achieving this. However, the main way to accomplish this is to increase the exposure of women’s cricket across all available platforms. We’ll have to see if this is followed up on in the summer tournament, with an equal split of men’s and women’s games televised, but so far, the Hundred doesn’t seem to be achieving equality in places where it matters.

Women’s cricket is in a brilliant place at the moment and is only getting better year after year. The ECB have a responsibility to ensure that boys and girls across the country can get into cricket by watching both the men’s and women’s game, are they really achieving this by announcing both men’s and women’s teams will be getting paid equally? It’s a move forward for women’s sport, but not a move forward in its exposure. The ECB have to ensure that the Hundred is entirely equal. The same amount of men’s and women’s matches televised, both a men’s and women’s draft and of course equal exposure on social media.

Last modified: 18th March 2020

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