Foul Play! Women World Cup Champs awarded Peanuts

Gender Discrimination in Kabaddi World Cup prize money

About The Video: In November 2011, underneath the glitter and pride of winning both the men’s and the women’s Kabaddi World Cup 2011 lay the undercurrent of the kind of gender inequality that runs through Indian Sport. While the victorious men’s team pocketed a hefty cheque of Rs. 2 crore (20 million), the women’s team received a paltry Rs. 25 lakh (2.5 million). Even as the country celebrated a rare double sports triumph at an international stage, this disturbing discrimination between the male and female sportsperson was largely ignored. Officials and players asked to comment on the situation took the refuge of clichés and aphorisms and remained non-committal on the issue.

Community Correspondent says: IndiaUnheard Community Correspondent Jai Kumar reports from the city of Ludhiana in Punjab where the grand closing ceremony of the Kabaddi World Cup was held with cultural programs, minister’s speeches and Bollywood performances by the likes of stars Akshay Kumar, Deepika Padukone and Chitrangada Singh.

“In all the pomp and show, nobody had the time to question the treatment given to the women champions,” he says. “Many of the players were from Punjab themselves, a state that is notorious across the country for its high rate of female foeticide. In Punjabi, women are called ‘kudis’ and Punjab is referred to as a state of ‘kudi-maars’ (killers of women). In such dire times, we must do all we can to encourage gender equality. “

“The victory of the Indian women’s Kabaddi team was great chance for the government and the media to talk about and champion the rights of the women. But unfortunately, everyone present had their own agenda. The politicos had to make election speeches and Bollywood had movies to promote. “

The Issue: Indian sportswomen have been winning the country medals for years without being duly recognized. Many women boxers, wrestlers and weightlifters have spent their entire careers and lives in anonymous, penniless ignominy. While their male counterparts find jobs in the government through the sports quota the women find the process a struggle and very few sportswomen are able to qualify for a secure job that can help them earn their livelihood and focus on their sport. In some cases such as the women’s hockey team, the government and the sporting authorities would not even bear the cost of repairing the injury sustained by women player’s on the field. The training methods and equipment are substandard and essential practices to develop skills like regular touring and participation in international competitions are opportunities rarely given to women. There are also several reports of Indian sportswomen being vulnerable to sexual exploitation at the hands of high ranking officials in sporting bodies.

Call to Action: Sporting bodies and councils across the world are recognizing the need for greater gender equality in sports. Equal focus on both men’s and women’s form of the game have paid rich dividends to not just the quality but also the economics of the sport. Tennis has been a leading and vocal supporter of gender equality and it has seen the profile, popularity and standards of the game multiply.

India is a nation starved of sports heroes and empowered female role models. As the sex ratio in the country increasingly goes askew and the government seems desperate to send out the message of gender equality, there are a few better to cheer for than the women of the country who are on the field, giving it their best and playing the good game, in the name of the nation’s pride.

About Community Correspondent:Punjab might have a reputation for being a prosperous state, but the state of sanitation affairs in Jai Kumar’s community left him the lucky survivor of a bout of gastroenteritis, leaving a trail of death and despair in its wake. What it also left behind was ‘Gastroenteritis Plagues Ludhiana’s Poor’, Jai’s IndiaUnheard video that prompted district health official to send in a clean-up crew, organize a health camp and distribute free medicine. His first video, ‘Corrupt Cops Ignore Rape’, resulted in a case being filed in support of a Dalit girl in his community who was gang raped, despite the police’s initial refusal to do so. Through his work as a Community Correspondent, Jai continues to capture the reality of the struggles and successes of his community and surrounding areas. Watch Jai’s videos here

Related Links:-

Asia Sentinel- India: Women and Sports

Times of India- Sexual Exploitation in Indian Sports

Watch the Women's 2012 Kabaddi World Cup Final

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IndiaUnheard is the world's first ever community news service where news is produced by the poor and the marginalized communities of India.