Chapter and women’s cricket is broadcast in

Chapter
1

Introduction

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Cricket in India is a religion with
a viewership that cuts across genders. There is a huge gap between the way men
and women’s cricket is broadcast in the media. The cause of
the gender inequality has been always the male dominance. This inequality
reflects the gendered differences in Indian society. According to Priti Jha,
and Niti Nagar (2015) a woman has to be the anchor of the family and stay at
home and do the house old activities. Indian men’s dominating nature has led
women to walk with their head held down. Indian society is largely a male driven
society which has rubbed off on all aspects of life one of which being sport
cricket in particular.  The media plays an
important role in transmitting information to the public. It is often the main
culprit in the perpetration of gender stereotypes (Danya Espinosa, 2010).

Television
audience’s process the messages therein and create attitudes regarding what is
appropriate and what is not for males and females. The way the media frames
women cricketers sets certain ideas of gender stereotypes in the viewers mind.
According to Espinosa (2010) both men and women prefer men’s cricket than
women’s cricket. Cricket in India is a religion, cricketers are prayed to by
the common people of India. The people of India are very god fearing and
believe that the cricket team of India are gods. This has led to a media
explosion. The cricketers of India receive so many endorsements and fame that
it is no joke that an Indian child would want to take up cricket as a career
when he grows up. The situation for women who want to take up cricket is very
different in India. This dissertation will try to give an understanding as to
why the media portrays men’s and women’s cricket differently. Is it because of
the society we live in? Or is it because of the Indian market that does not
want to consume women’s cricket. The amount of coverage given to men’s cricket
in India is tremendous. There is a huge gap in men’s and women’s cricket in
India in terms of opportunity and equal status. Women’s Cricket hardly receives
any glory and attention in the India media says (Radhika Gupta, 2013). There
are hardly any cricketing clubs at the grassroot level for women in India
everything is for the men (Sabrina
Razack ,2009).

  Sports
in India is yet to reach its pinnacle and Indian woman are still trying to
develop their own identity in the realm of sport be it because of the lack of
support from the family, government or various sporting bodies in the country.
The reasons for the lack of women’s representation in the Indian media are many
one main reason is the patriarchal structures that are oriented towards male
viewers. According to Jafrnetti (2006) in the essay “Gender Equality in
Iceland”,  says sports coverage in the
media is in many ways dominated by the coverage of men’s rather than women, who
are traditionally believed to be weaker than men. Chelsea Litchfield &
Steve Redhead further add that sports is all about viewership and historically
women’s sport is watched less by audiences. Men’s sport tends to be more popular
as compared to women’s sport worldwide (2015).

1.1        
History
of Cricket in India

            According
to Emily Crick the English  were the
first to import the game to India in 1885. The Parsi merchants were the first
to take up cricket in the latter part of the 19th century with Hindus and
Muslims participating soon after the end of the 18th century. The
Quadrangular tournaments that were held in Bombay  comprised of English, Hindu, Parsi, and
Muslim teams (2007). As Crick (2007) explains, after a couple of years the
tournament then developed into the Pentangular – the fifth team being known as
‘All the Rest,’ comprising Indian Christians, Buddhists and Jews.  By the 1920s and 1930s, the tournaments had
become very popular. According to Valerie Hanson (2012) It was in 1932
that  India was given the opportunity to
play International cricket. Once the partition took place between India and
Pakistan in 1947 and the British left India in 1947. it was then that India
became a full-fledged cricketing nation in 1947. According to Jha & Nagar
(2015), the Indian woman cricket team played their first International cricket
test match in 1976 against Australia in Pune. The team was formed by Mr
Mahendra Kumar Sharma who was the founder secretary of the Women’s Cricket
Association of India who formed the association in 1973.  The Indian Women’s team played their first
one-day International match in 1978 against New Zealand in Auckland. Some of
the notable Indian women players were Shanta Rangaswamy, Diana Edulji, Sudha Shah and Sandhya Agarwal. The
Indian men’s cricket team won its first world cup in 1983 under the captaincy
of Kapil Dev in England. As Crick (2007) analyses the Indian men’s cricket team
played its first test match in lords against England in 1932.The Indian men’s
cricket team has won two world cups one in 1983. The team was captained by
kapil Dev and had several great players like Sunil Gavaskar and Gundappa
Vishawanth and the second world cup was won in 2011under the captaincy of
Mahendra Singh Dhoni followed by winning the T20 world cup in 2007.

As
Valerie Hanson suggests the very first men’s cricket world cup was held in 1975
in England. The very first woman’s cricket world cup was held in Australia in
1988. The Indian woman’s team has never won a world cup as yet (2012). The
three formats of cricket that the Indian men’s and women’s cricket are one day
international, which is a fifty over match played between two teams played in
one day. The T20 format in which the match gets over in three hours and the
test match format in which the match is spread over for five days.

1.2. Gender Bias in Indian Cricket    

Indian
society has rarely encouraged women to take up sport as a career choice due to
its patriarchal nature. Indian parents prefer that their daughters get an
education, get married early on in life and settle down many Indian parents do
not encourage women to take up a career let alone a career in sport. According
to Vishwas Manohar Deshpande  a society,
which does not allow a girl to do necessities such as primary education, is
unlikely to let her participate in sport without any hurdles (2016). In a
country like India women historically have not been provided with equal
opportunities because of the physical and psychological differences perceived
by the Indian society towards women.  According
to E. Raju (2014) the notion that men and women are naturally different has
been used for many years to justify the exclusion of women from some or all sports. What is interesting to note is when men
cricketers play matches there are only men commentators and when women play
cricket matches there are both male and female commentators. Why aren’t female
commentators present in men’s cricket matches this it – self shows gender
biases in cricket.

 Indian Films have represented sports in
similar ways. The movie  Dhoni which released in 2016 portrays
Dhoni as a strong muscular character who regularly drinks cow’s milk and
exercises daily which is the ideal notion of a Indian sports man. “However
there are more honest representations too” For example In
the movie Mary Kom in which Priyanka
Chopra plays the lead role of Mc Mary Kom. Mary Kom after having children comes
 back and take up professional boxing as
a career. The Boxing Federation of India did not support Mary Kom because she
rebelled the patriarchal nature of the systems, particularly its federations
chairman in spite of her being a national champion. The movie shows great
hurdles that the women boxers have to face in a country like India due to the
official associations. The Movie Dangal
in which Aamir Khan is seen playing the lead character of a wrestler in Haryana
supports his daughter against all odds faced by the society and the federation
of wrestling in India to become an Olympic champion.  A lot of gender biases are seen in Indian
Sport that takes place due to the official sports organisations not supporting
our own Indian woman athletes. Harmanpreet Kaur a current Indian woman
cricketer’s coach  Yadwinder Singh Sodhi said  ” Even though Harmanpreet Kaur had played for India at a very young age
she was finding it very difficult to find a job currently. We requested Punjab
Police to employ her, we even met former Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal a
few times, but all we got in return was ‘You are a female cricketer. There is
no scope for any employment with Punjab Police”. (As quoted in Hindustan Times on July 22, 2017). 

 Harmanpreet Kaur is an Indian women’s
cricketer who performed very well at recently concluded woman’s cricket world
cup in England and Wales 2017, In
spite of awareness being raised globally about equal rights for both sexes the
reality is that India does not give equal rights to women. For instance, there
is a huge difference in the salary received by male and female cricketers in
India. the male cricketers receive 1 crore per annum whereas the Woman
cricketers receive just 15 lakhs per annum. Karen Ayres (2008) says the amount
of training and care received by the men’s cricket team is much more than the
woman’s cricket team. The men’s national team get to train in the National
Cricket Academy Bangalore (NCA) whereas the womaen have to train in their
respective states in which the facilities are not very good (Radhika Gupta
2013).

In a lot of parts in India women are looked
upon as a commodity by parents and as a burden to families if a girl child is
born. The crimes against women is increasing day by day. Domestic violence, rape,
sexual harassment, molestation, eve teasing, forced prostitution,
sexual-exploitation, at work places are a common affair today. In India
everyday 250 women are raped and 100 girls are forced into prostitution
illegally so, it’s an alarming issue for our country (Barbara Kotschwar, 2014).
Vishwas Manohar Deshpande states that surprisingly many people still hold the
belief that sports are harmful to women’s health, particularly to their
reproductive health because of India primarily being an agriculture based
economy and not a lot of education is needed among the poor to change this
belief (2016).

 

 

1.3 Situation of Women’s Cricket in India

In stark contrast to that of men’s cricket, the
status of women’s cricket in India is dismal even though the women’s national
cricket team has performed well of late. Women cricketers play a lot less
matches than men and the associations of women cricket do not make any money
this is the main reason less money is made by women cricketers. Women
cricketers are denied due recognition in Indian society. Women’s cricket
tournaments receive substantially less media coverage than men’s tournaments
(Gupta, 2013). There are many reasons why women’s participation is less than
men in cricket. The major reasons are lack of good infrastructure, lack of
parental support and lack of awareness of Women’s cricket being a career
option. Women cricketers in India usually come from lower middle-class economic
backgrounds, and join cricket for their livelihood due to lack of other
alternatives.  A Woman’s body is framed
in a particular way by the media which makes the women look weak and not sporty
at all. Where as a man’s body is framed as very strong and sporty by the media.
(Raju, 2014).  Many women in India
receive employment opportunities which pay more than cricket so women prefer to
take up jobs in the corporate sector and several private organisations rather
than cricket. (Jha,& Nagar, 2013)

1.4 Media framing of Indian Cricketers

            According to Susan Fountaine and Judy
McGregor  framing theory is how a
particular news agency covers certain issues and how the individual makes sense
of those issues, drawing partially but not exclusively on media
representations. The way the media frames men and woman Indian cricketers is
vastly different (2002). In almost every One Day International or T20 match
played by the men cheerleaders are always shown cheering on the camera when the
batsmen hit a boundary or a wicket is taken, but when women’s cricket matches
are played they are fewer cheerleaders. Even In he build up to the cricket
match publicity programme always has more men than woman in the panel. On very
few occasions there is an equal number of men and woman panellists on show The
final match of the woman’s world cup 2017 between India and England recorded
one and a half million viewers and the final match of the ICC Champions trophy
between India and Pakistan recorded a number of one billion people, watching because
more and more Indians are interested in watching cricket rather than women’s cricket
according to an article on (espncricketinfo.com.)
Albert Shrum studied the relation between television viewing and attitude he
measured the amount of time people spend watching television increases a
viewer’s attitude in a negative or positive way based on the content generated
(1999). He studied 300 young adults and made then watch violent movies on the
television for a month and followed they behaviour after that almost all of
them were involved in some violent activity in their daily life. This example
by Shrum (1999) shows that the television program does influence a viewers
behaviour positively or negatively.According to Stacey Nicely Media framing
involves the selection of certain issues and disregard of certain issues giving
prominence to certain issues and disregarding other issues (2007). Consistent
messages not only reinforce existing beliefs, but may generate new attitudes
and a resistance to counter information says (Espinosa, 2010).

According to Nicely (2007) the media plays a
big role in portraying woman athletes both the media and sports organizations
are concerned with showing the women’s body rather than her performance which
reinforces heterosexuality and hegemonic masculinity. The media is all about
making money and if the media has to show a women’s body in a negative way it
will do it. In a study conducted by Hanson (2012) she tried to analyse coverage
given to male and females on popular show on ESPN sports centre programme she found out that the popular sports
channel ESPN ran more stories
featuring men. Men’s stories were 655 and women’s stories were just 321. Which
gave more coverage to men the study also revealed that no stories featuring
only women were aired in the first two segments of Sports Centre 2002.  According to 
Kotschwar (2014) Women have been complaining about the way they are
framed by the media. Women in sports like tennis and badminton the camera
focuses on the skirt rather than the performance or the actual shot in the
replay, which is very demeaning to women. All in all, based on the way the
media frames women athletes that is the way people perceive women in our Indian
society the media is one of the most important messengers to the public and the
Public’s opinion on gender depends how the media portrays women due to vast
information explosion present today. A lot of people today especially young
children are watching television and the media is strongly reinforcing gender
stereotypes so from a young age kids in India will not be sensitive to women
sports in India.