West Indies cricket, already fraught with controversy involving some of its male internationals, appears in danger of losing one of its major female stars.
Barbadian all-rounder Deandra Dottin has threatened to walk away from full-time involvement in the game if something is not done by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) about the significant disparity in moneys paid to male and female cricketers.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY, Deandra Dottin stressed that the time had come for women in cricket to be treated equally to their male counterparts. She lamented the steep difference in the prize money that both West Indies senior sides received after winning their respective World Cup Finals in India.
Highlighting the gulf between the BDS$3 million shared by the men and the BDS$200 000 divided among the women, Dottin described it as “ridiculous”.
“Barbados does not really give sports people – and from my point of view, women – the recognition and respect they need. We were actually world champions and a lot of people feel we getting all of this big money and the payment is equal to the men. That is not so,” Dottin said, adding this was a state of affairs which the WICB could change.
“In order for cricket to be better, you need to treat everybody as one. You can’t treat the men at a high level and the women at a much lower level. You [women] only have the fame and the name,” Dottin contended.
She added that even though they were many Barbadians “who love women’s cricket and come out to support it,” there were others “who don’t think we should be playing at all.”
“We women need to be treated way better than we are being treated; money-wise and respect. Regional male cricketers make more money than West Indies women in cricket,” she pointed out.
Dottin also explained that the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) never used to pay women when they represented Barbados and only recently began “paying a little fee”.
“This sort of treatment would discourage anybody from playing cricket. Right now, as a person who plays cricket full-time and loves cricket, I am looking for something else to do. And if what I choose to do brings me more income, and makes life better for me, I will play cricket part-time. They will not get my full dedication anymore,” she remarked.
But Dottin’s lament is not unique to the women’s game in the Caribbean.
Because women’s cricket does not enjoy the same revenue-earning capacity as the men’s game through gate receipts and the selling of television rights, female cricketers tend to be paid less than men worldwide. But several countries have been increasing their female cricketers’ earnings in recent times, even though those moneys are still significantly less than what the male cricketers are paid.
Following Australia’s loss to the West Indies in the World Twenty20 Final, Cricket Australia gave their women a pay hike where top players can earn about $100 000 annually. All centrally contracted international women players will now be paid AU$50,150 a year in retainer fees plus the usual match fee of AU$1,200 for Test, $700 for ODI and T20I. Women players in the domestic cricket league will get a $7000 retainer fee plus another $3000 to $10,000 if they are awarded Women Big Bash contracts.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) awarded central contracts to 19 women cricketers for the 2016-2017 season. The decision to award central contracts was made in February 2015 and it was finally implemented in December 2015. Eighteen cricketers with central contracts got a financially-improved 12-month contract for the period February 2016 to January 2017.
Centrally contracted players are given retainer fees of £50,000 a year. Each player also gets a match fee that is around £1000 for a Test match, £500 for ODIs and T20Is matches. There are bonuses such as winning ICC competitions and individual performance related bonuses
The Board of Control for Cricket in India has followed the lead of the West Indies, Australia and England by offering some of their national female players central contracts. They have awarded central contracts to 11 internationals who were divided into two categories. Four top players were classified in grade A while seven others were awarded grade B contracts. The grade A women’s central contracts are worth US$22 500 annually, while grade B players’ contracts are US$15 000.
The Pakistan Cricket Board has also announced central contracts for 21 international women players. These came into effect from January 1 this year for a 12 month period. The women have been placed into four categories with category A players on monthly retainers of US$1 000; category B – US$800 monthly; category C – US$600 monthly; and category D – US$400 monthly.
In 2014 New Zealand awarded central contracts for the first time to their top 10 women cricketers. These ranged between $10 000 and $12 000 per annum.
West Indies Women retainer contracts range between BDS$3 000 and $6 000 monthly. Twelve male West Indies players are on retainer contracts ranging between BDS$200 000 and $280 000 annually which is drawn down in monthly tranches. These earnings are separate from what both men and women are paid on a match to match basis and other monetary incentives.