In a landmark order to end gender inequality, a three-member Committee of Administrators, which runs the day-to-day affairs of the Table Tennis Federation of India, on Thursday decided that women and girl players shall receive equal pay, awards and prize money as their male counterparts in all tournaments and competitions.
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The committee expressed deep concern over the discriminatory treatment meted out to women and girl players in table tennis in the context of award of prize money and payments.
“This is disconcerting because the effort needed, proficiency and skills required as well as the level of competition in a girls’ game, is in no way lesser than that exhibited in a men’s or boys’ game,” said the five-page order.
Chief Justice (retd) Geeta Mittal is the chairperson of the Committee of Administrators.
The order took cognizance of the 83rd Senior National Table Tennis Championship recently concluded in Shillong with the deep chasm and differential in the payments in the singles events.
“Sports, it is often said, mirrors society. The discrimination prevalent in society in terms of equal pay and rewards for men and women has persisted even within sports.
“But this doesn’t make it any less egregious. In fact, it is more so because the fundamental essence of all sports is fair play, fairness in action, equality of access, and of opportunity. This is an attempt by the Committee to ensure equal rights, equal pay, equal opportunity and equal recognition for our women players,” observed Chandigarh-based renowned lawyer Mittal, who signed the order.
The CoA finds that there is no justification at all for the blatant gender disparity which is maintained and is being perpetuated in terms of payment salary, prize money and awards to women and girl players, it said.
“It is an established fact that women and girl players are equally skilled and abled at the games at every level as men and boy players and are unfairly denied equality of opportunity as well as payment. The lack of parity in the payment of male and female sportspersons in India is in gross violation of, and antithetical to the principle of equality as enshrined in Articles 14, 15, 16 (2), and 39 (a) (amongst others) of the Indian Constitution as well as the Code on Wages, 2019.
“Equal pay is crucial not only to improve the visibility of women in sports but to also steer the narrative around equality within sports,” it said, adding the discrimination “is also against the letter and spirit of India’s obligations under the international instruments”.
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