Cricket South Africa achieves gender pay equality for international matches, introduces six-team professional women’s domestic cricket system, promoting inclusivity, diversity, and recognition of female athletes’ excellence. Landmark step lauded by sports minister and fans.
Pretoria, August 22, 2023 — In a groundbreaking move that marks a significant milestone for gender equality in sports, Cricket South Africa (CSA) has declared equal international-match fees for both men’s and women’s players. This landmark announcement puts CSA in league with cricketing powerhouses New Zealand and India, setting an example of gender parity within the international cricketing community.
The announcement coincides with CSA’s unveiling of an ambitious six-team professional domestic system for women cricketers. This transformative development follows the resounding success of the Women’s T20 World Cup, hosted by South Africa in February. The new professional structure is poised to redefine women’s cricket in the country and is being hailed as a momentous step towards the advancement of women’s sports.
Effective from next month, when South Africa’s women’s cricket team embarks on their tour of Pakistan, the new match fees will ensure that players from both the men’s and women’s teams receive equal remuneration for their international appearances. This equitable compensation is not only a testament to the commitment to gender equality but also a recognition of the dedication and excellence exhibited by female cricketers.
The newly introduced professional domestic system draws inspiration from the existing two-tier setup comprising 16 teams. The top six teams, including Titans, Lions, Dolphins, Western Province, Free State, and Garden Route Badgers, will now have the capacity to contract 11 players each, up from the previous six. Moreover, these players will enjoy pay rates that mirror the highest-paid male cricketers in Division 2. This forward-looking initiative also ensures that these teams can afford a full-time coaching staff.
In a strategic move to foster inclusivity and gender diversity, CSA will sponsor four backroom-staff positions for each of the six teams, mandating that at least two of them be occupied by female personnel. This commitment to female representation at all levels of the game is an embodiment of CSA’s dedication to promoting women in cricket.
As part of the newly introduced domestic system, the top six teams will engage in both 50-over and 20-over competitions. To enhance visibility and fan engagement, the 20-over matches are scheduled to coincide with the men’s competition. This groundbreaking step makes cricket the first team sport in South Africa to professionalize the women’s game at the domestic level, earning commendation from the country’s sports minister, Zizi Kodwa.
Kodwa, at the unveiling of the six teams in Pretoria, expressed, “What we are celebrating today is not about monetary value but about leadership and political will. You seem to be the only federation who understood what we said. How I wish others are listening as we speak now.”
While the focus remains on the top six teams, the new initiative also introduces changes for teams in the bottom ten. The fixture list will expand notably, with cross-pool matches added to the roster. This tournament-style approach is expected to encourage competitiveness and skill development among the participating teams.
The expansion of women’s cricket is anticipated to require an investment of R40 million (approximately US$2.1 million) over three years. The government’s Department of Sports, Arts, and Culture has pledged R15 million (US$800,000) to support CSA’s efforts in realizing this vision.
As CSA leads the charge in fostering gender equality and propelling women’s cricket to new heights, the world watches on, acknowledging the significance of these transformative strides in the realm of sports and gender representation.