Aussie women caught in $8 million controversy at cricket World Cup

The Aussies, pictured here in action against Bangladesh at the women's World Cup.
The Aussies in action against Bangladesh at the women's World Cup. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

Questions are being asked about the pay disparity between male and female cricketers at their respective World Cups after details emerged of the paltry prize money offered to the women's winner.

The International Cricket Council has been forced to defend its decision to award this week's winners of the women's World Cup just a third of the prize money given to the men.

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It emerged this week that there is a $US6.5 million ($AU8.7 million) pay gap between the 50-over World Cups, with $13.3 million paid out at the last men’s tournament and just $4.6 million on offer this month for the women in New Zealand.

England's men’s side took home $5.3 million for winning the 2019 World Cup, however Meg Lanning and her Australian women's side are chasing a winner’s paycheque of just $1.76 million.

The Aussies are among four teams left with a chance to claim the top prize after advancing to face West Indies in the semi-finals on Wednesday.

Speaking in Wellington this week, ICC chief executive Geoff Allardice admitted world cricket was “coming from a long way back” towards pay equity.

“We’re not there yet. But we’re on the journey to get to prize money parity,” he said.

Allardice said the ICC’s budgets were done in eight year cycles, revealing the call on the current World Cup winner's prizes was made nearly a decade ago.

He said discussions about to get underway on the next cycle, taking in 2023-2031.

The Australian said he wanted to “bridge the gap” in cash awarded to men’s and women’s cricketers in the next cycle, noting complexities.

“The (men’s and women’s) tournaments have a different number of teams. They’re different lengths,” he said.

“We’re about to start discussions around the next cycle. One of the starting points for that cycle is going to be trying to get parity for the finishing positions of teams in women’s events and comparable men’s events.”

Geoff Allardice, pictured here speaking to the media at the Under 19 World Cup.
Geoff Allardice speaks to the media at the Under 19 World Cup. (Photo by Christiaan Kotze - ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

Women's prize money has soared in recent years

Despite the lack of pay parity, prize money at the Women’s World Cup has actually soared across the last three events.

In 2013, the total on offer was just $270,000.

That figure leapt tenfold to $2.7 million in 2017 before a 75 per cent jump to this year's tournament.

In 2020, Cricket Australia took the unprecedented step of topping up the prize money awarded to the triumphant Aussie side at the T20 World Cup in order to equal a men’s payday.

However, a CA spokesperson told AAP that was a one-off deal as tournament hosts.

The Aussie women, pictured here celebrating after winning the T20 World Cup in 2020.
The Aussie women celebrate after winning the T20 World Cup in 2020. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

“The circumstances around this tournament are different,” the spokesperson said.

“The increase of 75 per cent in prize money since the last ICC (Women’s) World Cup is encouraging and we will continue to advocate for parity and lobby the ICC to boost the prize pool.”

Allardice said the standard of cricket on display this month in New Zealand had been “spectacular”.

“The competitiveness of the cricket has been a joy to watch," he said.

"The strides the teams have been taking forward over the last five years or so in the standard of play, in the excitement of the tournament is something that needs to be commented on.”

with AAP

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