Celebrated more? Absolutely!!! THE INDIAN WOMAN… She walks, She leads… Inherently in our country the woman has had to fight the stereo type family patriarch. It’s a cultural thing, isn’t it? And this isn’t exclusive to the domain of sport. You want to study more, fight the family. You want to play sport, try and reason with the family. You want to go out in the evening, again reason with the family. India’s daughter, India’s sister. Why not just an Indian woman!!! Women’s sport is given step motherly treatment. Why the gender inequality in prize money and sponsorships? To be fair this matter is not isolated to India, it is at some level a global issue. Lack of funding makes a lot of the aspiring and elite sport women take jobs to pay their bills and often enough are unable to give 100% to their training and in several cases eventually drop out. Women is sport are better off today, post the success of our girls at the Rio Olympics, some of them actually now choose sport as a career. The women did outperform the men, and how? Closer home, badminton in India is synonymous with Sindhu and Saina. Sure the boys are doing well, but who’s responsible for making the Indian households switch on the television sets?
The Indian woman needs to achieve the extraordinary to justify her existence!!! Who can name members of the Indian women’s cricket team that recently lost in the finals of the World Cup? Has the media played their part? Can anyone name the first Indian woman to play football in England for a premier club. It’s Tanvie Hans. How did she end up there? Because she had a British passport and couldn’t play on the Indian national team. Through adversity arose an opportunity. The Indian sportswoman today is different, is successful and well understands that there are no limits to the amount of success she can achieve. That she has had to fight the patriarchy as well as the gender bias makes her stronger and more determined to succeed. This has clearly added to the success she has achieved. The experience, learnings and constant need to ‘prove themselves as equals or better’ has significantly added to their mettle and success.
As a sportswoman, as an entrepreneur in the world of sport, as a sports administrator, I have lived this journey my entire life, right from practice games at my home club to international events, from training opportunities to institutional support, gender has always come in the way. As closely as I work with top athletes, the disparity stares us in the face. The Indian woman with guts, self-belief, hard work and courage will find a way to attain glory.