Why Dipika Pallikal is refusing to play Advertisement

Why Dipika Pallikal is refusing to play

The squash champion takes aim at sexism

Dipika Pallikal landing

Here’s something strange. The country’s top squash player won’t be participating in the National Squash Championship, currently taking place in Kerala. Dipika Pallikal will be sitting it out for the fourth year in a row, to protest the disparity in prize money for men and women. Reportedly, this year the male champion stands to win Rs 1,20,000 and the female, Rs 50,000. 

Pallikal is quoted as saying to PTI: “I don’t see why there should be a difference between men and women. I would have loved to play in Kerala and definitely miss playing the Nationals. If women have started getting equal prize money at professional tournaments around the word, why can’t the same happen in India?”

But the situation isn’t ideal elsewhere, either. Last year, a BBC Sport study found that in 30% of sports played worldwide, men make more money than women. The most sexist sports are football, cricket, golf, darts, snooker and squash. Darts?! Is there a huge difference in the way that men and women aim in pubs? (Well yes, if you’ve ever caught a whiff of the men’s loo.)

Pallikal’s statement comes close on the heels of recent reports of the outrageous prize money gap between men’s and women’s soccer teams. At the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the American soccer team took home $2 million for winning the championship—whereas the American men’s team, which crashed out in the first knockout round of the World Cup last year, took home $8 million.

This disparity makes no sense given that women have to work just as hard and invest just as much in their game to play at the national level. In countries like India, they have to work even harder to battle institutional gender bias at every step. So why is their victory worth less? Search us.

In closing here’s a GIF that illustrates another important difference between the genders on the field. The woman is Australian rugby player, Georgia Page, who took a blow to her nose, breaking it, and continued playing. The man is footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, engaged in a move called ‘flopping’ where a player pretends to be hurt to win a foul. Keepin’ it classy, guys.


Deepa Menon


Photograph: Creative Commons/Wikipedia