It’s traditionally been called a ‘gentleman’s game’, but cricket is finally making playing the beautiful games much more equal for its female players.
The sport’s governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC), made the decision at its annual conference, deciding that, effective immediately, women’s and men’s teams will receive equal prize money at cricket’s biggest tournaments.
The decision was made much earlier than the targets set by the body, to make prize money equal by 2030.
“This is a significant moment in the history of our sport, and I am delighted that men’s and women’s cricketers competing at ICC global events will now be rewarded equally,” ICC Chairman Greg Barclay said in a statement.
Barclay noted that this decision was not made overnight, with the ICC steadily increasing prize money at women’s events since 2017, with this latest change being the end goal.
“From here on in, winning the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup will carry the same prize money as winning the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup and the same for Twenty20 World Cups and Under-19s too.
“Cricket is genuinely a sport for all,” Barclay said, “and this decision from the ICC board reinforces that and enables us to celebrate and value every single player’s contribution to the game equally.”
The news is not only exciting for female cricketers playing at the most elite levels, but also all the young women and girls coming up the ranks that may one day want to turn pro. Decisions like this mean clutching that future is all the more accessible and financially viable.
Historically, and even until this year, there has been a huge gap between women’s and men’s prize money in cricket, even if the women’s has been going up incrementally.
For example, Australia won the Twenty20 World Cup this year, with $1 million in prize money handed out, while when England won the T20 World Cup last year they received $1.6 million.
Many sporting fans are hoping that the ICC’s landmark decision will trickle down into other sports with a women’s presence.
A great example is the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup, which is being held in Australia and New Zealand. FIFA President Gianna Infantino announced that the 2023 prize pool will be USD $110m (approx. AUD $164m), up from USD $30m (approx. AUD $44.8m) in 2019.
This still remains disturbingly lower than the $440m awarded to the men’s league last year.
It’s hoped that the changes made by the ICC will trigger a movement to equalize women’s sport and offer its players a fair opportunity to play at the highest level.