Beth Barrett-Wild, the head of the Hundred women’s competition, believes the even split in prize money between genders in this year’s inaugural edition is a positive step towards equality.
The England and Wales Cricket Board announced on Wednesday that the men’s and women’s competitions would each be worth £300,000 in prize money as part of a “long-term commitment to making cricket a gender-balanced sport”.
It has already been confirmed that the difference in what players will receive is much broader. While the total salary money per male franchise is around £1million, it is roughly £120,000 per female side.
Moreover, while the lowest male contract is worth £30,000, the highest bracket for females comes in at £15,000.
Barrett-Wild recognises the disparities which are ongoing but insists the ECB is heading in the right direction, having last October pledged a funding boost of £20million for women’s cricket over the next two years.
“It’s a great moment with a blank piece of paper, a signal of intent,” she told Sky Sports News. “Prize money is a real moment we can make some noise about.
“Having said that, we are aware that we have a lot to do. We know there is a discrepancy in the salaries offered to the male and female players. That (parity) is something we are working towards, gender balance in that space.
“We are on a journey with regards to salaries. I’ve been working for the ECB for six years now, previously in the communications team, and I remember writing the press release for the first professional contracts in the England women’s team.
“If you look at how far we have come in the five years, I am really excited about the direction of travel and where we might be in five years’ time.
“We know that the average female salary is 12 per cent of the males’. It’s something we are acutely aware of and we are doing everything we can to redress that balance but it’s not going to happen overnight.”
The opening fixture of the new 100-ball format competition is on July 17 when Welsh Fire will travel to Oval Invincibles.
The finals are set for August 14/15, with the scheduling through the summer holidays aiming to win over a fresh family audience.
England captain Heather Knight, who will lead London Spirit women’s team, feels the move of equal prize can only have a positive impact on the future development of the game.
“Women’s professional cricket is on an exciting journey,” Knight said.
“While there is still a way to go to realise gender-parity, this move from The Hundred is a significant step in the right direction.
“We are all really excited about playing in the new competition and hopefully inspiring more young girls and boys to pick up a bat and ball.”